The Almost Daily Thread

musings from the blue chair

Prayer as Action for Peace


Editorial note:This was originally written by Terri Stewart for Saturday, September 7, 2013, in response to a call for worldwide prayer and fasting to focus on peace in Syria. With all that is going on in the Middle East and given the Ukraine crises, the many conflicts in Africa and the deaths and dislocations resulting from drug wars in Central and South America, this seems a good time to post it again in the spirit of peace, love and community …

I have seen many things happening–prayer vigils, personal meditation practices, marches, and communications with elected officials. We decided to offer a Labyrinth Walk for Peace at Bothell UMC in Bothell, WA in the morning. I gathered inter-faith prayers, we walked, prayed, and focused on bringing peace to the world. What follows is prayers and photos from that journey that became deeply personal for each attendant. There was a…

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Journey Within



Its time for the journey within
It calls but you’ve placed it on hold
Dazed by the glitter of this world
Forgetful of where you came from

Throw your excuses to the sky
Its time for the journey within
Kick open all your prison doors
Freedom waits on the other side

Let your desires and mind sleep
Surrender yourself to the One
Its time for the journey within
A world of treasures awaits you

Become one with the Peace you crave
Become one with the Light you are
Become the Love that gave you birth
Its time for the journey within


My first Quatern 🙂

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File cabinets and a yellow rose

Stuck in the middle of black and white - in this case!

In the middle of black and white.

A young woman raised to believe the husband provides, no need for college as a career or establishing a way of self-sustaining. Get married. Have babies. Live happily ever after.

A young woman, recently divorced with two children who liked to eat between three and seventeen times a day and have clothing with labels to match their friends, and needed dentist and doctor visits and haircuts and shoes and socks on and on.

A young, not so courageous, divorced woman accepts a job with an office supply company as an outside sales representative traveling 500+ local miles per week, opening new territory, securing already existing accounts. Route sales. Monday – Ashland. Tuesday – Point Pleasant. Wednesday – Grayson. And so on. Repeat weekly.

A young woman who repeatedly parks her car on the outskirts of towns to pray and coax herself to cold call. To walk into unfamiliar territory, enter offices lining main streets. Chilling. Forty years later it still makes my stomach slightly churn. Kind of like I felt with my first blog post!

Two years or so into the job, an experienced woman hears from her boss, “Lucky you. ABC Company, a Fortune 500 company, signed a national furniture contract with Steelcase and we are the closest dealer. Take them a catalog and introduce yourself.”

I did and repeatedly called every week for many months with no order. And then…Jackpot. Remodeling and furniture needs precipitated orders. Big orders for me. Wonderful commission orders! Filing cabinets. All the same size. All the same color. For several months the orders flew in and then, all of a sudden the line of communication crumbled and the colors of the cabinets we were shipping were the wrong color. How could black be so complicated? ???

One Tuesday while loading my car for the route deliveries my boss confesses, “We did it again. We sent three cabinets the wrong color. You might have hell to pay when you call on ABC today. I’ve talked to him and he’s very upset.”

I contemplate my scolding on the two hours drive while in and out of my accounts. Talk about a long and winding road.

A fun part of that day was a regular call to a florist who nearly always gave me a flower which I routinely stuck in my 3-ring order book and would carry for the rest of the day. This particular Tuesday my gift was a lovely yellow, long stem rose. The rose stuck me a couple of times but the fragrance and color was so beautiful I carried it determinedly.

I arrive at ABC, sign in at the sales rep receiving area and sit with several suited gentlemen who carry briefcases and probably do “big” business at this manufacturing location. I have on a blue shirtwaist, heels, no hose, loose hair. No suit for the route sales rep. I could be more casual and familiar.

I sit. I wait. The big wig sales boys do nod to me in a dismissive sort of way and no one talks. We wait. This event predates cell phone so no one is even on Facebook or checking email which have not yet come into existence. No television blasts distraction. Every cough or throat clearing or shuddfe sound is exaggerated. I wiggle in my seat and want this confrontation over with. My company messed up. What can I do? Apologize again? I just want this call over with.

Mr. Purchasing Agent, at last, gently opens the door — just a crack, only a couple of inches. He nods to the big boys and then points to me, beckons me, Come on in, with his pointer finger. The execution begins. I rise to meet my fate. The boys twist in their chair at my being called out of turn. They arrived first. I stand and take a deep breath.

I follow a silent Mr. Purchasing Agent a ways down a hall to where he opens a door into the plant itself. Noise. Immediate noise. “Here put this on.” He hands me a beat up hard hat (that is so far out of sync with my outfit!). Inside the plant we make our way past huge wizzing, wherrring, moving equipment and machinery. Loud and chaotic. Blue collar workers in overalls, hard hats and steel toed boots move adeptly. He leads me to a loading dock where forklifts crawl like ants. Moving huge crates.

“Does this look tan to you?”

“No, sir.” I know this, even though my head is bobbling under the weight and size and discomfort of the nasty hard hat. One shouldn’t wear a hard had with high heels.

A line of black file cabinets, fifteen or so stand back lit with remorse, stupid mistakes and unacceptable excuses. I follow him back to his office, fluffing my hair. He gets behind his desk and motions for me to sit.

I pull the yellow rose out of the 3-ring binder. I tear each thorn off and lay them in front of me and I place the rose on the scribbled, dirty desk calendar in front of him.

“Your replacements will be here before noon today. I don’t know what to say. I am sorry. We are wrong. I say you get to be the rose and we will be the pricks.”

I remember he did not pick up the rose. I remember that the cabinets got replaced and that the color mistake was never made again. He did continue to order from me until he was transferred. The rose incident never surfaced again. I did leave there through the sales rep receiving area after only about 15 minutes without the very obvious rose. Mr. Purchasing Agent had to do something with it before the next guy was called in. What was the fate of that lovely yellow rose?


Gravity and 15%

Gravity and 15%

Feeling spiffy

Feeling spiffy

Yesterday began as such a delightful day. I had two new lovely clients, got my errands run and took myself to Hancock Fabrics for a mini-artist date. I had 30 minutes before my next appointment. The fabric store is the candy shop to me. Colors, patterns, textures = possibilities.
I am a working on a large commissioned wall hanging that has me “challenged” so I wander through the goodie store touching and hoping for inspiration. I gather some interesting cotton prints. Possibilities for my work-in-progress. I chat gaily with the young woman while she measures and cuts. She then moves with me to the cash register. She rings me up – well they don’t ring up anymore do they? She scanned my purchases. “Fifteen sixty,” she says getting ready to pounce. “But today is Senior Citizens Discount day. Do you want to use your discount?”
Who me? Well, I am the only one in line, so I know she is talking to me and I am shocked. I am feeling so spiffy – or I was. My hair is cooperating in this moment because the humidity is low. I have on fun, swinging shirts, layered and bright colors. I am not wearing a printed polyester shirtwaist like my Grandma’s wore with the little Peter Pan collar. Neither am I wearing sensible shoes. I have on great sandals. Comfy but not ugly. Sketchers. My toenails are polished. I even acquiesce to the Cambodian nail tech, “Get Design? You need design. Design sexy. Design $3.” I get design. I can even still see my toenails when I look straight down.
I have good contemporary earrings. A nice bangle bracelet. So what gave me away? Maybe flappy arms. Bat wings is the medical slang. Really, for real. Bat wings. Or maybe it is the bruised, brown spot on my hand above my pointer finger where I banged my hand somewhere I don’t even remember where or when.
I ask the now not-so-delightful young lady if 64 qualifies. “Oh, sure,” she says all chipper. In a aren’t you lucky to save $2.42 just by getting old voice. Whoop-de-diddly-dee to saving two bucks under these grave circumstances. (I didn’t say grave, did I?) I am all over a bargain, but. . .
And, Oh let me just say right here. My hair is still red. Not grey. Red. My hair is not colored red. My hair is natural, wavy red, growing long right now to cut for Locks of Love. Growing thick red hair is something I do well.
I didn’t even have to adjust my glasses to use the bifocals to see the price of the buttons. Big orange tags were printed very clearly on the 50% off bowl of buttons I sifted through while waiting for the fabric cuts.
So what gave me away? Maybe my chins. I did have to look down at the bowl of buttons. You gotta love a really cool button (and a sale). So did the wolf-in-sheep clothing store clerk. She said so, cheerily, just before she threw the slam dunk Senior Citizens Discount shot.
Why do we get more chins as we age? To catch the food we are dripping? And who needs to see the veins of my hands? Has my skin gone papery thin so I will know there is still life going on under there? Well, I still trust that.
Maybe it was flappy arms. If I could turn my arms upside down and work that way for a while both sides would have muscles. I have strong top muscles but the bottoms – oh gravity, you are not my best friend. We won’t even go to the female anatomy part. ;( Because if that part gets mashed up with the underarm part. Let’s just not go there. Why doesn’t holding things like menus or magazines at arm’s length to be able to read them serve to strengthen and tighten those bat wings? Seems a slight anatomical adjustment would solve this problem.
Maybe I didn’t hear the ill-mannered, slightly near-sighted twerp-clerk correctly. Maybe she said, “Ma’am, do you qualify for the 15% Senior Citizens Discount running today?” Then I would have thought to myself, “YES! I don’t look my real age.” And I would have proudly replied, “Sure, a few dollars is a few dollars. I am surprised you think I am 64. But I am and I am proud of it.”
I was carded for alcohol until I was in my 30’s. How many Senior Citizens Discounts does it take to pay for plastic surgery?


Thoughts on Blogging

Thoughts on blogging

Love is a verb

Love is a Verb

Blogging isn’t a project I come to with open arms. I wonder who wants to hear what I have to day. And yet, I have participated in this life for 46 years – almost, gulp, 65 and have witnessed many changes, asked many questions, turned down many answers. I come to this process as curious as ever, as confused, and as comfortable as ever.
This Almost Daily Thread will perhaps raise, or encourage, more questions as I always have questions. From the response to my first post I am encouraged and thrilled and, well, a bit shocked! So, here I go.
I sense I’ll write snippets from daily life that weave us together as earth inhabitants trying to make sense out of our purpose, unveil our personal mission and how best to walk through here.
I do believe we incarnate many times and I do believe this particular one is pivotal or monumental or has all the ingredients to create something different. I believe the brutality, violence, injustice and judgmental thinking has become rampant so we as individuals can decide purposefully to live our daily lives differently. In peace, compassing, and tolerance. More loving, kinder, more gently. Thus creating a grass roots web through which the undesirable behavior doesn’t fit – is not accepted.
I have always wanted Peace on Earth – for the world to feel every day the awesome still peace found briefly around Christmas when the material/baking/wrapping/decorating chaos is completed and we quiet ourselves to enjoy a birthing celebration of hope and joy. And we love one another. Oh…that we learn to expand those moments into a full day. A couple of days. A week? A month.
I find those moments with my grandchildren, my family and friends. In laughter and song (well, some of them!). In my own moments of stillness when I quiet myself enough to hear my true inner voice.
And it is upon these events I will muse and share with you.
Blessings to you in this most beautiful moment. Create from it what you will.
I personally am going to feel relief that I will to show up at my writer’s group which consists of Leigh and I with promised assignment! I am showing up on an overcast cool, spring morning having my second cup of coffee and grateful four of my grandchildren, who spent the night, slept long enough for me to complete this.
So not it’s off to feeding and entertaining. And in writing this, while I am being so transparent, honestly much of the pain and stiffness that often plaques my neck is relieved! So, for me, does procrastination become pain?
Hummm. Now there is another thread. . .


My first post – All about me!

The blue chair

The blue chair

Susan Rea Caldwell is a busy retired person who has interests in many areas.

• I am a Reiki Master/Teacher having been attuned since 1996 and hosting workshops since 1998! It was love at first touch.

• I am an Akashic Records consultant trained in 2006 through the program of Akashic Records Consultants International. Occasionally I combine Reiki and a consult creating a session that allows for a deeper focus.

• I became a labyrinth facilitator trained through Veriditas in 2007.

• I am an author having published two novels. Betty Rea is an embellishment of my grandmother’s life. She was a strong, determined and innovative woman who worked her way through many trials. Joseph’s Journey is a story I “heard” about the journey Joseph and Mary took from Nazareth to Bethlehem and the earth angels who came to their aid. I also have published three manuals for the three levels of Reiki, In Touch with Reiki I, II and III for Master’s and Teachers.

• I am in the process of publishing my short stories for Kindle readers.

• I am a fabric artist. I collage/layer fabrics and embellishments to create wall hangings, prayer flags and draw string bags.

• I host various workshops in writing and creativity. Mainly, I host workshops in Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way. So far 17 or so. But who’s counting.

• I am the oldest sister of two siblings, a brother and sister. I have two daughters and five grandchildren,

• I graduated from Russell High School in 1967. I earned my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky in 1992; my Master’s from Marshall University in Huntington, WV. in 1994. (Slow learner or determined???)

Ummmm. What else? I am a gardener and an avid environmentalist and free thinker. I plan to share with you Musings from the Blue Chair which is where I sit and write my morning pages and do lots of editing. I am not a great speller or follower of grammar. I love sentence fragments.

One exercise I have my Artist’s Way students do is to write 50 things about themselves. I’ll give you a few more in addition to the ones above. Oh come on, I really have listed some of them! I am a redhead, a coffee drinker, a walker. I grow African Violets and Christmas Cactus. I somehow am attracted to the oddball quirky people. You know who you are. I believe there cannot be too many pairs of shoes in one’s closet. No high heels grace my shoe rack anymore. Although at one point in my life when I had three jobs I was a banquet waitress and wore these snappy black heels with my black pants and white shirt. I danced disco in those shoes too! That is way another story and era, isn’t it?

Maybe that’s list enough and the rest you can figure out if you decide to read my posts sometimes. I am thinkin’ they will be short snippets of events or thoughts encompassing any one or all of the above areas and maybe more if I come upon something really fascinating.

Oh, and I make my own laundry soap. Which I saw for sale in a little market yesterday for $9.50 a gallon! Really, you go girl. It costs less than a dollar a gallon to make. And it works. And saves the environmental impact of all that manufacturing, shipping, ect.?? Saving the earth one gallon of laundry soap at a time!