How gratitude warms my heart this Winter Solstice

Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

I am the light of God in expression.” ~Today’s Daily Word (DW)

Today millions (like me) are celebrating the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night in the Northern Hemisphere. To bring more light inside, I am reflecting on 2018 to share some thoughts that we might intersect, finding common ground to continue uplifting one another. 

For you and me:

Munduk Waterfalls, Bali, 2009
I remind myself every day 
that  I am here on this earth not only 
for the purpose of 
receiving divine blessings 
but also for the purpose of 
sharing my good with others.


I am divinely created 

as a channel 
through which flows 

life, joy,  peace, and love 
to all who come my way.” ~DW



The journey to become a channel commenced years ago in Bali at a sunrise lit with thousands of red, ascending dragonflies; the Divine Download came to put on the mantle of “writer.” 

Writing sisters gathered for launching Season 13 of the Divine  Dialogue Writing Circle.

Fast forward from Bali and it’s been joy-full to:
* co-contribute to eight books in the past two years with another coming January 15;

* host a free private Facebook group, the Writer’s VisionQuest for women;

* teach courses and lead Day Trips with the OLLI at Eckerd College program;

* facilitate the monthly Divine Dialogue Writing Circle for 13 years and;

* write my first book!
Celebrating 65 turns-around-the-sun in October.
I am the light of God in expression, and as such, 
I can be the light that keeps another soul from stumbling in the darkness.
I bring peace to my own life when I serve as a source of harmony for others.
With this in mind, 
I speak words of strength and offer comfort to those in need. 
As a loving friend, 
I share understanding, compassion, and kindness. 
As I give my very best, 
I become the very best.” ~DW 

This year, several friends and family members faced life-threatening health challenges. I pray that my “words of strength” were able to “offer comfort to those in need.” My go-to suggestion and practice for more strength and comfort are always: Call Silent Unity, the 120-year old prayer ministry! (They’ve been blessing me and mine for 33 years.)

Unusual this year was moving through the portal of grief ten times too many with friends who left their earth suits–women my age, best friends of mom’s, and mothers of dear friends. Mortality and I shared many an intimate chat in my early morning time of prayer, meditation, and writing. (Yes, I naturally rise between 2:30-4:30am.)

My takeaway: Life is short. Why hasn’t this truth registered? It does now. Don’t assume you’re here for even one more minute, hour, day, and much less a week! Get on with living a life you love that serves others.

Heeding my own advice, it’s a full throttle time!  Days are intensely satisfying and challenging to remain in “Book’s” evolutionary energy…sometimes up to 10 hours. 

Normal no longer exists. Writing a book redefines priorities and reframes boundaries with self and others.

That’s why it’s important to pause on this reflective day and shout: 

I am grateful to my teachers and cheerleaders, I am! I love and bless you! Thank you!

You’ve generously and faithfully continued to uplift and inspire me on my “hero’s journey” to publish and launch Writing Medicine: The Must-Have Guide for Your Hero’s Journey to Inner Healing on March 20, 2019–the Spring Equinox.
Click here for a >> Sneak Peek << and to set up a time to have a chat over a cuppa tea or coffee!

Drawn by Chris Ridell, this meme with the words of Carl Sagan, American author, cosmologist, and astrophysicist, best describes the “why” someone would write a book with the “purpose of sharing (my) good with others.”
I agree, Carl Sagan, with all my heart, “A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

Wishing you and yours the expansive light, love, and magic of this holy season, 

and the celebration of Christmas.

If you’re reading this, I am grateful, I am.



Why and How to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Action
Happy Almost Winter Solstice, 
the shortest day and longest night of the year!
For hundreds of years, travelers from around the globe gather the morning of December 21 at the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge (and many other stone circles) to witness the sunrise in the forever sky. Grounded in a 4,500-year-old history, even now it’s a sacred time for you to reflect, release, renew, and restore. The ancients and your ancestors understood this critical time for coaxing and celebrating the sun’s return.

Why? Death and hardship were imminent without the sun’s light and warmth. Perhaps this year, you’ve experienced the loss of your loved ones both 2-footed and 4-footed. I’ve walked through the portal of grief ten times too many this year– always a journey that’s painful, profound and in the end, laden with positive, unwrapped gifts.


So imagine a huge bonfire where people connected around community feasts and rituals. Symbolically these actions coaxed the sun back into their lives. The dancing, singing, and feasting also physically warmed their bodies and minds to the hope of spring–and the promises of life, food, and warmth!


How will you coax the “sun” to shine in your life again?
You’re invited to make a fresh start; think of people you are not spinning your gold with for whatever reasons and write them a Winter Solstice greeting be it a card, text, or email. Ask for forgetting and forgiving with a blessing for relationship harmony. This can be a courageous act of reflecting your Spiritual Light to coax and expand the “sun” back into your life.


What miracle happens when you allow your Spiritual Light to return?

Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross (1541-1591) wrote a poem which someone else titled “The Dark Night of the Soul.” It’s said that while imprisoned, the only light came from a window so high up he had to stand on a stool to read. He compassionately knew that the things imprisoning you are not always clear-cut.

A bird can be held by a chain or by a thread. Still, it cannot fly.” – St. John of the Cross 
While reflecting on 2018, do you feel bound by the heavy chains of regrets, unhappy relationships, or addictions to unhealthy habits, worries or substances? If not, then perhaps you might feel bound by the threads of discontent, procrastination, judgment, or boredom. 

Though lighter than chains, these threads can keep you tied to the past, not allowing you to joyfully and freely move into December’s final holy days and the New You, New Year.

You’re invited to go within to spin new golden threads of self-love.
 Consider these three action steps:
1) Find five besties to tell you why they love and appreciate you in one sentence or paragraph. 
Tell them that you’re adding their words to your 2018 Love Letter. Consider making this an annual tradition after you tell them why you love and appreciate them!

2) Write yourself a 2018 Love Letter using a fountain fen or pencil. 
Describe the many ways you love yourself. “How do I love thee, ____ (your name), let me count the ways.” Review previous texts or emails you’ve received acknowledging your gifts. Address an envelope with a stamp to YOU. Ask a friend to surprise you by mailing the letter sometime in December 2019.
3) Affirm phrases like: 
I am love, I am. 
I am loving, I am. 
I am loveable, I am. 
I am loved, I am.


Whatever you choose to do, pause and find time to look up at the Full Moon on December 21 and celebrate life!

Shout Out!
“What are the secrets of the ancient stone circle? Were the carefully placed stones a burial site, an ancient calendar, a place of Druid worship…or even a site of sacrifice? World-renowned archaeologist Mike Parker-Pearson has spent the last seven years on a quest to answer these and many other questions. In If Stones Could Speak, award-winning author Marc Aronson joins the research crew and records their efforts to crack Stonehenge’s secrets. National Geographic helped sponsor the Riverside archeological team’s mission, and now young readers can journey behind the scenes to experience this groundbreaking story first-hand, through the eyes of the experts. “

12 Angel Muses to Ignite Your Creativity and Writing

Your Soul Cafe:  Conversations that Open  Hearts and Inspire Actions
An old traditional saying believes, “An angel guides every act of creation.

From November 1 to January 15, some 29 holidays–everything from Hanukkah to Christmas to Kwanzaa–are observed and celebrated by seven of the world’s major religions.

Angels play major roles and often reflect and inspire the holidays’ or celebrations’ images and symbolism. The word inspiration comes from the Latin and means, “filled with spirit.” Inspiration goes beyond imagination as a “divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.” 

Creation fires up your life with new ideas which then translate into forms.

Do you believe that creativity comes from the spirit? 
Whatever you believe or don’t think so, consider expanding and opening up your thinking that Divine Downloads can more easily flow by connecting with angels as muses.

You can view angels as abstract energies or embodied in physical representations. Choose whatever works best to inspire and ignite your creativity and writing– especially if you feel blocked or that you’re swimming in pea soup with open eyes!

Since 2011 after hosting and designing two successful angel telesummits, my relationships with angels continues to expand and bless me in countless ways. 

It’s comforting and grounding that my first actions each morning include calling upon them –especially Archangel Gabriel–to start my Divine Dialogue Writing Practice. My first outer act is to later share their inspiration on social media.

Let’s meet these 12 Angel Muses!

Archangel Rafael, Angel of December and whose name means “Whom God Heals.” He rules over the Zodiacal sign of Virgo.

December can be a landmine for emotions. It’s a time that calls for healing in many forms and for many memories or current events. Whether physical, energetic, or spiritual, Archangel Raphael helps you on all levels. 

To connect with any archangel or angel energy as you create or write, please consider:
* Calling upon the angel by name to guide you with visions, signs, and messages. “Ask and is it given.”

* Paying close attention to your surroundings after you ask. These signs will come in different forms such as songs, words in a passing conversation, and those unexpected things that pop up out of the blue. Feathers and pennies also often appear as “signs.”

* Recording your dreams by keeping a pad of paper with a pen, or a phone/recorder, next to your bed. Then, upon waking, highlight your emotional impressions and details that will help you recall the full dream later. Upon deciphering your slumber movie, you will see the message unfold.

Your Guardian Angel

Growing up, did you have a Guardian Angel picture like this in your bedroom?  I did. Want to know a secret? I still have similar images and statues surrounding me while sleeping!
This angelic relationship may be your earliest muse. Perhaps your Guardian Angel prayers included help with sleeping, a test, project, or even a relationship while growing up—and even now. What’s the name of your Guardian Angel? If you don’t know, consider meditation to ask for her/his name to come to you. 

Knowing your Guardian Angel’s name makes the relationship all the more personal and powerful.

Your Three Birth Angels
According to some angelologists and also in the Talmudic tradition, it is believed that you are born from Divinity.  

You arrive in an earth suit with three angelic pieces
Your Birth and Heart Angels (based on your birth date) and your Intellect Angel, based on the time you arrived.

Knowing your Birth Angels’ names is exciting and comforting. They each reflect specific attributes and inversions of your personality and abilities to provide a unique, Divine lens to view life; this lens also offers perspectives to emotional and physical challenges and how to better deal with them in positive ways! (I enjoy  revealing this sacred and helpful information to clients and friends!)

The Annunciation with Archangel Gabriel sharing news of Jesus’s birth to Mary.
According to A Dictionary of Angels, these are the angels of the week:

Monday-Archangel Gabriel, “God is my Strength”
Use citrine and copper to connect with his/her energies. Considered the muse for writers, authors, poets, speakers, and all messengers, Archangel Gabriel is found in several religious texts including the Christian’s Old Testament, the Muslim’s Koran, and the Jewish Talmud.

Tuesday-Archangel Camael, “He Who Sees God”
His name personifies Divine justice, strength, courage, and war in Christian and Jewish mythology and angelology. Archangel Camael often appears in the guise of a leopard.  

Wednesday-Archangel Rafael, “God’s Master Physician” or “Whom God Heals” 
Use emerald or malachite to connect with his healing energy. In Hebrew, the word “rophe” means to “to heal.” According to Beliefnet, Archangel Rafael “aids in restoring and maintaining harmony and peace.  He is also the patron of travelers…and clears away fears and stressors that may be adversely affecting your health…”

Thursday-Archangel Zadkiel, “Righteousness of God” 

Use lapis lazuli to connect with his energy. Zadkiel is also called the Patron Angel of all who forgives.  Rabbinical tradition considers him to be the angel of mercy.

Friday-Archangel Haniel, “Glory of God”
Use moonstone to connect with her energy. Susan Gregg of Angels on Your Shoulders writes that she can help you “make new friends; create an outrageous love life; enhance any artistic endeavors, heighten your intuition, enliven your healing rituals (especially at new and full moon times) and; bring balance into all areas of your life.”

Saturday-Archangel Tzaphiel, “Knowledge of God” 
Wear blue to connect with her energy. “She is often depicted holding a golden chalice which symbolizes the cup of knowledge and is known as the angel of compassion and understanding. This archangel also helps people learn how to love others with the unconditional love God has for them, resolve conflicts,  forgive, and develop compassion that motivates people to serve others in need,” according to Whitney Hopler.

Sunday-Archangel Michael, “He Who is Like God”

Use sugilite to connect with his energy. Michael is considered to be “the Prince of the Archangels and of the Angelic Hosts, the Defender of the Faith, the Angel of Deliverance. He is also the sponsor of the police departments an law enforcement agencies around the world. Archangel Michael has figured as the greatest and most revered of angels in many scriptures and spiritual traditions. In Muslim lore, he is the angel of nature who provides both food and knowledge to man.” -The Summit Lighthouse.


Two and four-footed Angels

Again, you may or may not believe in the angels of the non-physical realm. 


But surely you believe in “human angels”–people you know or even complete strangers who bless you with H.U.G.S. >Happy Unexpected God Surprises. They appear at the most unusual moments which are often labeled as being “amazing” or “funny” or “synchronous.”

And then there’s the animal kingdom who bring us the same H.U.G.S. with unconditional love.
 Indeed…


Learn more about the Angel Muses with these three resources:
* Birth Angel Intuitive Session(s)Schedule your session with me now!
 Your Special Invite to connect and explore how
Writing Medicine (click here)

could bring value to you, a business or organization.


The official Facebook celebration and “delivery” is set for March 20, 2019, the Spring Equinox. It’s an auspicious startup time to share Writing Medicine’s message–and to find a home in the libraries of friends, families, and cities.

.Copyright Lore Raymond, 2018. No portion of the blog post or information on this site may be reprinted, re-used or copied to another site without prior written permission from the author.

5 Ideas for Gifting the Miracle of Unwrapped Presents

Your Soul Cafe Blog: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
What are you gifting this holy season of love and light?
Over the years, family and friends taught me the value of giving and receiving “unwrapped pressies” to yourself and others.

The reasons are many to give unwrapped pressies as they…

* Don’t involve the exchange of money
* Can be given anytime, anywhere to anyone 
* Save on wrapping and postage costs
* Always connect the head to the heart 

If you haven’t mindfully engaged in this practice, you’re invited to become a Changel–someone who lets go of the familiar way of gift giving and embraces the changes of the unknown with trust and open-heartedness. Your new mantle blends the best of two words, change + angel. Sure, shopping for and giving gifts may be what you did before–and how about doing something different this year?

Here are five ideas for gifting the miracle of unwrapped presents:

Rewind: Two years on December 6, 2016, Saint Nicholas Day, the “Miracle Mindset” issue of Aspire Magazine arrived in inboxes everywhere!  Please enjoy these excerpts from my feature story, “Four Secret Gifts from the Three Wise Women for Birthing Miracles.”


Three of the five, secret unwrapped gifts include:

1. “From the Wise Maiden-Woman on the wings of Sparrow is the first secret gift: Open your heart to everything and everyone as being a miracle.
Rewind and consider once again experiencing your world with “childlike wonder.”

2. “From the Wise Mother-Woman on the wings of Eagle is the second secret gift: Create sacred space, a room at the inner inn. 
You do this by writing an “AAA List — Always Advance Appreciation List.”

3. “From the Wise Crone-Woman on the wings of Owl is the third secret gift: Be mindful of how your expectation for miracles now appears. 
You expand on the two first secret gifts to expect and see only H.U.G.S. or Happy Unexpected God Surprises. Miracles that once seemed like only rare events, now appear as your daily norm.” 
Art: Shiloh Sophia

Additional “unwrapped pressie” ideas include:

4. Write a love letter. 
My dear friend, Joy Siren, said, “If I WERE to write a (Christmas) letter it would most likely be all about the party I was writing to (as opposed to being about me). I’d let them know how much I appreciate them and why…and I’d ask about specific things in their life, how they’re enjoying their journey, what’s been making their toes wiggle lately…that sort of thing.” 

5. Radiate love during meditation or a walking meditation. 
Make a list of everyone you love or like, and also a list of people you don’t love or like. I use the Pink Heart Meditation: First, put your hand on your heart. Breathe. Then see a pink ribbon in figure 8’s being woven around your heart, crossing to the center of the person in mind, circling their heart, and returning to your heart. Repeat 8x. 
Then, get ready for miracles!

Embrace change as something fresh and fun! 
As you welcome change, you are able to make the best choices at each moment. 


Congratulations on your new role as a Changel who gifts unwrapped pressies!

Shout Outs!
Celebrating the success of friends and…

Celebrating Jeanine Blackwell’s new The Expert Called You Show. Watch last week’s episode to learn the other two “must-haves” to create a point of difference for what you do. I’ve taken Jeanine’s dynamic Create Six-Figure Courses and can’t say enough about her expertise and NOLA humor!

and 

A Special Invite Coming this week from me for…

The official Facebook celebration and “delivery” is set for March 20, 2019, the Spring Equinox. It’s an auspicious startup time to share Writing Medicine’s message–and to find a home in the libraries of friends, families, and cities.

.
Copyright Lore Raymond, 2018. No portion of the blog post or information on this site may be reprinted, re-used or copied to another site without prior written permission from the author.

What will you birth in December’s delivery room?

Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open Hearts and  Inspire Actions
A library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes alive.” ~ Norman Cousens

How will you deliver your ideas in December?

You’re now moving from November’s sacred space of gratitude into joyful expectations of new projects. New dreams. New beginnings. 

Consider a combination of being and doing as December is the final gestation period to enjoy…

Quiet solace.
Quiet pauses of patience.

Quiet walks with Mother Nature.
Quiet time writing Christmas or holiday cards.
Quiet hours of baking and “testing” your samples.
Quiet moments of brooding.
Quiet spaces of star gazing.

All these activities prepare you to celebrate a creative pregnancy with successful births–ones that POP! as your new ideas, words, projects, events, collaborations, online courses, and hope. Perhaps you’re thinking of creating a blog, memoir, poem, story, play–or even writing a book.

What names will you give these dreams that seek to be birthed?
Throughout 2017, I was happily birthing two writing retreats, one in Florida and another in Bali. Then in September, Hurricane Irma’s destruction impacted the physical and inner landscapes of her residents, animals, and wildlife. It took several more months to recover than expected; the retreats were placed back on the “library shelf.” All creative juices evaporated followed by emotional fatigue. Still, the dreams of the retreats live and breathe within…and one day, when they’re ready, will appear.

Instead, the book that makes my “history come alive” and gestating for 13 years with the genesis of my spiritual writing process–the Divine Dialogue Writing System–sought all my energies and the light of expression. 

And the name is…
Writing Medicine: The Must-Have Guide for Your Hero’s Journey to Inner Healing–now seen here with her first ultrasound to excitedly share with friends and family. 

Would welcome a virtual cuppa with you to chat and see where the healing message of Writing Medicine might add value to your podcast, webinar, event, and/or blog–or someone you know. Message me?


The official Facebook celebration and “delivery” is set for March 20, 2019, the Spring Equinox. It’s an auspicious startup time to share Writing Medicine’s message–and to find a home in the libraries of friends, families, and cities.
Like a holiday fruitcake, this time is filled with emotions protruding as sheer joy and absolute panic–and thinking you’re going nuts! For those who’ve experienced physical pregnancy, you understand. For me, my only child Nazlie was adopted–born of my heart and not my body. So, this “birthing” is new territory to navigate.

And if you’re in the same emotional waters, perhaps you can find courage and comfort as  I have…

There’s something soul-soothing about trusting that the moon and stars always show up.
The constellations illuminate your home sky They dazzle like rhinestones on a navy blue velvet dress. Mother Nature is indeed one talented seamstress!

Think about it. The stars appear every night regardless of what’s happened in the world. Nightly news never reports, “The stars came out (or didn’t come out) tonight!” Best of all, this light show costs nothing. No power bill ever arrives.

When you see the ancient December night sky, be reminded of a pregnant teenager.
Thousands of years ago, she traveled as a young girl nine months pregnant on a donkey under the stars. She and husband Joseph journeyed to an unknown and unwelcoming place to an uncertain destiny. Their child is considered significant by many–the Messiah, a guru, great teacher, holy man, and miracle worker. Jesus’s story is told in the Bible, the most read book of all time. 

With the stars guiding you, may you also birth all your December dreams!

Who knows, once delivered they might become gifts that change the world.
Please share the names of your dreams in the comments.


Shout Outs! 
to some of Writing Medicine’s “midwives”
Joy Siren, Genteel Arts Philanthropist at Whimsicalitea
and Juan Padron, Venezuela, Book Cover Designer
and
This inspiring book brought colorful richness to Writing Medicine!

This book was my roadmap that kept me from getting lost!


5 Family Gratitude Rituals to Increase Joyance

Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open  Hearts and Inspire Actions
“Thanksgiving, to be truly Thanksgiving is first thanks, then giving.” ~Unknown

There are many reasons to be grateful all year long, and especially in November, the official month of gratitude. Consider making the practice of gratitude not only doing–writing lists, practicing rituals, creating gratitude projects—but an ongoing, everyday practice of being.

Adopting gratitude rituals for yourself and/or family supports the intention of being more grateful by their very nature. 

Rituals can transform you and yours as they:
– Change any ordinary task to an extraordinary event by focusing on the sacredness and specialness of the activity.

– Color, by pausing, your life with expanded peace, power, and joyance.

– Increase awareness by focusing on all that’s good to expand opportunities for more good to enter your “inner” and outer doors.

– Offer a moment of illusion or reassurance that there’s order in a chaotic day, week, or world.

– Create a casual impact on your thoughts, feelings, and actions.


Here are five of my favorite gratitude rituals:

#1 Write or say your G-List–Gratitude List. Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance–my favorite book–introduced this then-novel idea on the Oprah show in the early 80s. Oprah enthusiastically appreciated the approach and started her own gratitude journal; later she shared the practice many times with her global audience. Now, writing a gratitude list is perhaps not so novel.

To shift the experience of only writing a list, set the stage by lighting a white, soy candle and perhaps some quality incense to lift your prayers up literally and symbolically. Play music that soothes and energizes. Start with an opening prayer.


#2 Write or say your AAA List–Always Advance Appreciation. You might be a member of AAA, the American Automobile Association. As part of their services, they offer to create a “TripTik”–a map detailing the directions to your final destination.

Likewise, your AAA List maps out a dynamic day for you to follow in advance. Source gets your spiritual orders and is happy to deliver. 

Visualize the day ahead and mentally walk through it.

“Ask, and it shall be given; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” -Matthew 7: 7-8  

If there’s no time to write, then say your list out loud while getting ready for the day, with your family while cooking breakfast, driving to school or work–or maybe waiting in line or for an appointment.

These two gratitude lists are the bookend activities to the Divine Dialogue Writing System; the idea and metaphor of the “AAA List” came during one of my daily writing sessions.


#3 Gather in a Gratitude Circle. While seated around the Thanksgiving table, many families will invite each person to share what they’re grateful for. To make this a family ritual, consider repeating the experience at a daily meal or once a week.

The family leader (or any member) might suggest a gratitude topic each time to keep the “circle” fun, exciting, and meaningful. Examples might include giving thanks for a specific person in the circle, teachers, helpful professions, books, stories, animals, memories, movies, messages, relatives, ancestors, appliances, trees, bugs, and the topics go on forever…


#4 Create a Gratitude “Door.” It’s said that gratitude opens the doors to more of what you give thanks for—it’s expansive energy attracts positivity. This is an ongoing ritual that you can set a sacred appointment to keep at the end of the day or once a week. This “door” moves your gratitude to larger, visual expression. 

Use a door, wall, window, upper cabinet, refrigerator, or any flat surface on which to place post-it notes—written thank you’s for who or what you’re grateful for. You can clear the post-it notes whenever your “gratitude door” is full and you’re ready to start again!

#5 Craft a Gratitude Mandala. This gratitude ritual engages the head, heart, and hands. Consider creating one alone and/or as a family project. Again, set sacred space with a candle, incense, and music before starting the project.

This is an easy and excellent follow-up to your Thanksgiving meal or to any gratitude circle.

Follow these six simple steps:
1) Draw a circle using a plate on construction paper
2) In the center write the words, “I AM Grateful for…”
3) Write your replies in lines like rays of sunshine! Enhance by using glitter or metallic pens to express the riches of body, mind, and spirit.
4) Create in silence.
5) When complete, share the gratitude mandala by speaking the “I AM Grateful For” statements out loud.
6) Display where you and everyone can see and appreciate the positive energies radiating outward to bless your home space and life!

Gratitude rituals are a simple, sure-fire way to access the powerful energy of appreciation in your life. Expect to see the results throughout your day and weeks. Be sure to add your blessings to your G-List and/or include in your other gratitude rituals. Your blessings will just keep growing and flowing…

From the blog, what gratitude rituals might you try and why? What do you already use to access your appreciation? Please share below.
Let’s stay connected!
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Shout Outs! 
Give support. Share the blog.

Just released! Visit my Amazon Author Page to purchase.
A favorite book,  published in 2016.

11 Ways to Say THANK YOU to Your Network

Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions!
Gratitude is a practice. Make it a priority.

Words matter more than ever. There are too many vitriolic words being shared on the airwaves. So in this official season of appreciation, why not expand the words (and actions) of love that say “thank you?”

How important is it to thank your social media network? Your blog family? Facebook friends and Twitter followers? You know the answer: VERY IMPORTANT!  People love to be appreciated. Your gratitude gesture is an act of civility that blesses both you the sender, and the receiver. 

It also makes good business sense; it’s a core principle for any heart-centered enterprise that guarantees to keep your business thriving and your messages rippling!

Yes, saying a quick thank you in an email or post is a good thing, but it is often deleted as quickly as it was made.

Happy news! There are many ways to say thank you and here are 11 of my favorites ways. 
Thank you in advance for commenting, sharing and/or Tweeting. YOU are appreciated! 

Sharing as Thank You’s
#1 Comments – Take time to post a sentence or two to thank your readers and colleagues in your comments; make them authentic and specific on their blog or post. Consider using phrases that start with “You are appreciated for your..” vs. “I appreciated the…”

# 2 Share your reader’s and colleague’s posts on social networks. Tag them so they know what you’re up to. “Sharing is caring” is a phrase you’ll often see and some websites are designed for this screen to pop up after their blog is shared. Consider places where that would benefit your readers (and you) from sharing more than one time! Use others’ content-rich posts to complete your scheduled posts on Facebook or elsewhere. Be sure the posts compliment and reinforce your brand.

#3 Mention your readers and colleagues on your future posts. Who doesn’t love to see their name in print? Better yet, link their name to their business page, book, or current project.



Connections as Thank You’s
#4 A quality introduction is priceless and worth its weight in gold. When you hear someone seeking something, scroll through your “mental Rolodex” for someone who could assist them. Be sure to ask that they close the loop and give you feedback if they connect. Likewise, if you receive an introduction, be sure to thank the introducer and fill them in with what happened–or didn’t happen.
If YOU seek an introduction to someone, please share WHO that is and for WHAT in the comments below. 
(Pssst…I’m looking for places to hold 2019 spring book events in CA, WA, and OR.)

#5 An authentic referral is similar but more serious as you’ve used this service and are putting your name and reputation on the line with someone in your network. Again, ask for honest feedback if the referral pans out for future work or collaboration.
If YOU need a referral for a service, please share that in the comment below and how to best get hold of you. 
(Pssst…I’m looking for a referral to a copy editor AND a launch designer/coordinator!)

#6 Recommend on your website with a resource page. This can change monthly or quarterly with a name, description, how you know this person, and link. Information is power…be a powerful giver of information by connecting others.
If YOU have a resource page, please share that website page in the comments below.

#7 Review on Amazon or Goodreads also takes time. It’s a thank you that every author appreciates. You are putting gold into the “Bank of Karma” for when your book is published. Remember, your review could help connect a reader to the perfect book that inspires or blesses them in a way you may never hear about…and that’s okay.
If YOU seek a book review, please share your book’s link in the comments below.



Touchy, Feely, Tangible Thank You’s
#8 Postcards and handwritten notes always thrill when received. Why? Because they take time, they’re as rare as hen’s teeth these days, so getting something in the mail is unusually unique. Make it easy and have a stack of postcards or notes with stamps ready to pop into the mail.

#9 Giveaways – Have giveaways for your readers on a monthly or seasonal time period. You could give away a product, a PayPal gift card, an eBook, etc. 
If YOU have a current giveaway, please share in the comments.

#10 Actual Gift  Have actual gifts that are also ready to pop into the mail–your book, or something with your brand like a  mug, paperweight, etc. 
If YOU have a source for creating actual gifts or promo items, please share in the comments.
Truly free gifts are always appreciated!
Free Gifts as a Thank You

#11 Free eBooks, templates, lists, bookmarks- to download and print with no email required that ends up on your list. Consider only gathering an email for people who subscribe to your blog.
If YOU have a free gift that doesn’t require an email and can be downloaded, please share in the comments.




Want to join me? Save the dates of July 9-11, 2021–yes, 2021–for this festival of collaborative arts and theme events!


Consider becoming a PATRON of the ARTS NOW by supporting Omni-fest for as little as $1.00 to $100 a month. You choose.
Your support for this UNIQUE, FIRST TIME FESTIVAL celebrates the confluence of creativity and jubilance through the elements of food, art, song, dance, illumination, craft, and merriment. The hosting organization, Whimsicalitea, is a young Southern California arts-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that nurtures expression through the genteel arts, with a special fondness for literary endeavors. >> https://www.omni-fest.org

Meet 11 Literary Muses for November Inspiration

YOUR SOUL CAFE: CONVERSATIONS THAT OPEN HEARTS AND INSPIRE ACTIONS
“I have learned to surrender to the muse. I become obsessed with a theme or certain stories; they haunt me for years, 
and finally, I write them.“-Isabel Allende

How do you surrender to the muse?

One way is to be curious while meeting some familiar and new literary muses. Some of these eleven authors and poets still create. Then, as Stephen King suggests that some, “Muses are ghosts, and sometimes come uninvited.”

So what is a muse? Muses are visible and invisible energies, found in trusted people, places, pets, and things. They’re always present and often not present when needed and so writer’s block appears. Some writers state they’ve never experienced this state of mind. Lucky them!

Wendell Berry,  poet, essayist, farmer and novelist, offers these clarifying insights:
“There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who return, again and again, to say “It is yet more difficult than you thought.” This is the muse of form.
These 11 writers and poets born in November could serve as your 
“Muse of Inspiration and Muse of Realization.”
Won’t you please meet and read:

“The book is actually divided into five sections, through which the key character, 
the muse, leads us.” –Christopher “Kit” Williams


Margaret Mitchell November 8 (b. 1900)-Pulitzer prize winner and American author-Gone with the Wind (1936)

Alicia Ostriker November 11 (b. 1937) – American poet – A Woman Under the Surface: Poems and Prose Poems (1982)

Bahá’u’lláh (Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Nuri  November 12 (b. 1817) – Persian Mytsic, founder of the Bahai Faith میرزا حسینعلی نوری)   – Epistle to the Son of the Wolf
Ayaan Hirsi Ali November 13 (b. 1969) – Somali writer, human rights activist –Infidel (2007)

Karen Armstrong November 14 (b. 1944) – U.K. writer (religion); memoirist – the Spiral Staircase (2004) 


“Writing sometimes feels frivolous and sometimes sacred, but memory is one of my strongest muses. I serve her with my words. So long as people read, those we love survive however evanescently. As do we writers, saying with our life’s work, 
Remember. 
Remember us. 
Remember me.” –Marge Piercy

Marianne Moore November 15 (b. 1887)- American poet, The Fish

George Eliot November 22 aka Mary Ann [Marian] Evans (b. 1819) – British novelist, journalist, poet, and translator – Brother Jacob (1864) 

Dale Carnegie November 24 (b. 1888) -American author and speaker- How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936)

Alexis Wright November 25 (b. 1950) – Australian (indigenous) novelist, short story writer – Carpentaria (2006)
Louisa May Alcott November 29 (b. 1832) American novelist and poet-Little Women (1869), Little Men (1871), and Jo’s Boys (1886)
Lucy Maud Montgomery November 30 (b. 1874) – Canadian novelist – Anne of Green Gables (1908)


Like Allende, might you now surrender to your familiar or new muse? 
Which author or poet “whispered” to you? Share a link to your book(s).

Shout Outs!
Celebrating the success of others.

As a student of chakras for decades, this IS the Ultimate Guide!


Let’s Stay Connected!
Join Writer’s VisionQuest, a free, dynamic private Facebook group for women writers to help “transform your words somewhere brilliant.”
* Read Women as Visionaries with Lore Raymond, 5-year old magazine format with women contributors to “empower women through spiritual inspiration.” Interested in contributing? Please inbox me.

Why and How to Write Your Epitaph on All Soul’s Day

Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
“Wit is the epitaph of an emotion.” 
Frederich Nietzsche


Tragically, recent current events remind us that life is fragile, fleeting, and not forever. The world is offering sympathy and condolences for lives lost in the Tree of Life synagogue shooting; the Yosemite death of an Indian couple falling from a cliff; Ntozake Shange of “For Colored Girls” fame dead at 70 and; the list continues with the recent names of loved ones and pets–too many to add here.


While prayers must continue to disavow hate by being love, these events must also serve as a strong reminder to get your house in order–to make certain your wishes are legally listed in a will or living will; that instructions about your gifts to others and medical wishes are documented; your passwords to bank accounts and social media sites are compiled and; your epitaph is written.


For anyone–including writers, authors, and creatives–this may be one of your toughest assignments to embrace: 

November 1, Plan Your Epitaph Day. 
It also coincides with All Souls’ Day 
or 
“Day of the Dead.”

According to Google Dictionary, “This is a phrase or statement written in memory of a person who has died, especially as an inscription on a tombstone.” It can also be a short poem that’s serious, witty, or humorous!

What one or two lines would you want on your epitaph? 

My dad, an Air Force pilot and veteran, left his earthly flight suit on October 4,  2003. His burial took place at the National Bay Pines Veterans Cemetery in St. Petersburg, FL. For his gravestone, they allowed for only five words besides his name and dates of birth and death. 

Yes, just five words to reflect 75 years of life and 30 years of patriotic service. 

In a Divine Download, his epitaph came to my mom; she recalled what my brother at age three used to say when people asked, “What does your daddy do?” 

He always answered, “Zoom in the sky!” 

And that’s Daddy Bear’s epitaph.


While this day on the surface might seem morbid, doesn’t it make more sense for YOU to be the author of this final piece of writing?

Decades ago while feeling forever young and immortal, my “final day” seemed too far away to give it any thought. The reality now whispers and reminds me every day that I am in the “autumn” of my life at 65 years young.

Perhaps you will join me for this challenging writing assignment and follow these suggestions on how to write an epitaph:
World National Holidays reports on “The Origin of “Plan Your Epitaph Day”: We believe Lance Hardie is the creator of Plan Your Epitaph Day. He is the author of How to Write Your Own Epitaph — and Live Long Enough to Enjoy. (I was unsuccessful in finding the book’s link.)

So, if you “need a little nudge to plan your epitaph, let today be the day.”


Shout Out! Celebrating the success of others:

Dr. Debra L. Reble‘s new book,  Soul-Hearted Living: A Year of Sacred Reflections & Affirmations for Women , will be released by#InspiredLivingPublishing on December 5th!

Each of the 365 daily reflection pages features a sacred reflection and affirmation by Debra, as well as an inspirational quote submitted by women around the world. 


Claim your gift of gratitude, two free meditations, when you register for VIP notice today!www.SoulHeartedLivingBook.com


Delighted to be a contributor!

Let’s stay connected!

Join the Writer’s VisionQuest, free, dynamic private Facebook group for women writers to “transform your words somewhere brilliant.

Three Stages of Evolution: The Soul of Book Writing

Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

After 18 months, I am grateful for the gentle book writing evolution through different and surprising stages. The following reflections surfaced during a recent Divine Dialogue Writing meditation.

Book writing is anything but completing just a checklist; establishing a writing practice; identifying your ideal reader and; setting a daily writing goal. There’s a considerable expansion of experiences you might not be aware of. 

Perhaps these insights will help you or someone you know who’s writing a book or perhaps thinking about writing their autobiography.

Thank you in advance for letting me know which stage you connected with or perhaps are now in.

Tasks are essential, and I believe these three stages speak to the soul of book writing from another perspective. 
They include:

#1 Ego Stage: “I am writing a book.”
Here you excitedly announce your plans to write a book and share the answer above when asked, “What are you doing these days?” With dreamy, hopeful sparkles in your eyes, visions of sugarplums and the title of New York Times bestselling author dance in your head!

Caught up in perhaps your own happy hype, your book writing is hit or miss while completing some or none of the book writing course modules (like me). 

Delusions, distractions, and denials get amplified; you think you’re writing your book by writing other projects, i.e., a blog, proposal, or new website copy.

You allow your dream to come true and begin.


#2 Ego Fading Stage: “The book is writing me.
Submerged into the mystery of book writing, a butterfly transition begins; you become aware that this is a co-creative project that requires discipline. Something more expansive than yourself calls you to share your story.

A commitment to collaboration becomes essential to honor the ideas and words found in research. Perhaps, you’re now faithfully keeping the goal of writing 111 minutes every day (like I was), completing course modules, and writing for fewer projects.

You accept your book writing assignments with joy, satisfaction, and eagerness!


#3 Ego-free Stage: “Book is writing me.”
In this sacred place, there’s no option, no turning back, no excuses. A subtle and profound shift happens within your psyche and soul. The writing now completely transforms how you spend your time, talent, and treasure. For example, if I could take a pill for all my daily nutritional needs–DONE! 

You sweetly remember and embrace the purposeful passion that catapulted you onto this literary journey. There’s no “should” or “could.” There’s only must

Book exudes a seductive, attracting energy to do her bidding—to write!

You surrender to what is yours to do. You now write until you don’t write. 

What’s next? I’m not sure. 
I know that Book will have something to say sometime. 
I also know she’s…
Our launch date is March 20, 2019, the New Moon of the Spring Equinox.
Book and I hope you will join us!
and…


SHOUT OUTS!
Celebrating friend’s successes and offerings…

Andrea Hylen’s new book–the story behind the story of the Heal My Voice anthologies that she published with hundreds of women.
Heart and writing sister, Andrea, is offering the Writing Incubator–100 days of support, prompts, and Writing Labs, starting November 1.
Check to see if it’s a fit–like it is for me. Count me in!