Rethinking Prayer

Chapel of the Red Rocks

“Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.” ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I grew up going to church every Sunday. That’s one way I learned to pray. Lately I’ve been rethinking my entire belief system and this week I was reminded that maybe I need to relook at how I pray.

On one of Amanda Ellis’ short videos on Instagram this week, she mentioned the horrific toll the virus is having on the Brazilian population. She was reminding us to pray for them and their highest good in that terrible situation. I prayed and then I was thinking, “I don’t pay attention to the news anymore. I still feel so shell shocked from the constant news cycle barrage of the last few years that I don’t want to pay attention anymore.” So, I was unaware of the crisis going on in Brazil and barely conscious of other crises going on in the world. When she asked us to pray for those people so far away, I felt like I had let those people down because I wanted to detach from the drama. I also vowed to pay closer attention to the news so I can be aware of places in the world that need me to gather with others in prayer.

After that morning, I was thinking about how my prayers have changed. I used to pray using words. They were mostly selfish prayers asking for things, or healing for myself, or my family and friends. But as I’ve matured the nature of how and who I pray for has changed.

I read Gregg Braden’s books. He’s a scientist who’s focus is on the link between science and spirituality. His study of ancient spiritual traditions has uncovered a better way to pray. He learned that for prayer to be most effective, it’s best to use our emotions as the vehicle for our prayers. In other words we need to pray from our hearts. Since I learned this, that’s what I’ve been doing. I may use words to state my intention that my prayers go for the highest good of all, but then I just tune into the love in my heart and let the energy flow to the people or situation I’m focusing on.

I know that some people think that sending prayers when there is a crisis is a cop out, but I have found that not to be true. If I can pray and take action, I do. But I don’t always feel spirit guiding me to take physical action. So I pray. I believe that my prayers added to those of millions of others helps miracles happen. They may not happen this instant, but every little bit helps and eventually things will change in those hot spots around the world.

This morning as I was doing my Oprah/Deepak meditation, the centering thought for today was: “I want a ‘yes’ that’s good for everyone”. And it occurred to me that I want that as my centering thought everyday from now on. I want everyone to win, to have a happy, fulfilled life. I can pray for that and maybe eventually it will become a reality.

It is/has taken me lots of years to give up the need to protect myself and truly hope and pray for the good of all people. I forget often and give into despair. Certain people push my buttons and I forget that we’re all here to do something specific, that I can’t see the bigger picture of where humanity is headed. I forget to understand that maybe the people I think of as despicable might be helping humanity grow in some unforeseen way. And I like to turn a blind eye to the fact that I can be just as despicable, hateful, and judgmental as anyone else. I know I’ll get caught up in the drama from time-to-time and forget to pray. But it’s my intention to be honest about my own failings and to become a more mature and effective pray-er. I also have to remember to focus on hope for our future.

I pray that things in your world are going well, but if not, I’ll send prayers for you if you ask.

Welcome to all my new followers. Thank you all for your likes and occasional comments. I appreciate the good energy you send my way. 

Wednesday April 14th, I’ll publish a new episode of Story~Power. I had a fascinating conversation with my former student Scott Hamilton, who is a movie maker and actor here in Southern Arizona. I hope you tune in to your favorite podcast app to listen to our conversation and rate or write a review. Thanks for that in advance.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2021

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a new podcast where she and her guests discuss the stories in all formats that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.

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High Holy Days

Daffodils serenading the sun.

“For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.” ~ William Blake

I don’t attend church any longer but early spring is the time of holy holidays and that energy still affects me. 

This year I want to state something that came to me some years back during one of my meditations or contemplations. In the Christian tradition there is the theory, or doctrine that Jesus Christ will appear again one day. There might be similar ideas in other religions. The idea of a Holy Being, or even a king like Arthur, who will come back to help humanity evolve and set things right is a part of lots of myths and legends. 

What I heard in my head during meditation on that day was that the Second Coming wasn’t the coming of the person of Jesus Christ, but rather the awakening of humanity to the Holy Energy within each us; that as humanity turns away from pain and suffering as the accepted reality and turns toward love and joy as reality, we birth that Divine Energy onto the planet.

That sounds really far fetched. It sounds impossible and intellectual. But here’s how it has been playing out for me. 

Years ago I heard Louise Hay talk about a technique she used to heal herself of cancer. She called this technique “the mirror exercise”. She looked into her eyes in a mirror and told herself that she loved herself. She did it every day until she began to really feel and believe it. My reaction at the time was, “Well, that’s nice for her, but I can’t do that.” Just the thought of doing that made me feel resistant.

Yet a few months ago my life had changed and I decided to try the mirror exercise. I wasn’t sure it would work. At first it felt like I was betraying all I’d been taught about how I should see myself. What I was taught was that I should put myself last in all situations. That to live a holy life, I needed to sacrifice myself for others. Over the years of study and work on myself, I realized that’s not true at all. What appears to be sacrifice by some is really those people following their passion. They’re acting from a place of deep love, and that love begins with loving themselves. 

So, I thought, “What the hooey. I’ll give this a shot and see what happens.” Little by little as I looked myself in the eyes in the mirror, I did feel shifts in my feelings about myself. I started to feel lighter and more relaxed. I realized that I don’t have to buy into the whole idea that we’re here to suffer with only sporadic moments of joy. I can have all of my dreams come true because those dreams are the reason I’m here. I’m meant to do the work I love and have a good effect on others as a result. I’m finally fully understanding that each and every person, even the ones who look like they are evil on the outside, have a lovely and precious soul. I have to admit, I fall backwards on that last one often. Then I remember, Oh yeah, their soul is precious and they are fulfilling their purpose.

I have begun to truly embrace the idea that only love is real and everything else is an illusion. And something else that has come to me over and over again throughout the years. I’m a puny human being and can’t possibly understand the vastness of what’s actually going on in the Cosmos and that’s okay. I’m just one star in the heavens. I can’t see the whole picture from my vantage point. I just need to play my part.

One thing has happened since I started my mirror exercises. For the last week or so, I wake up with the song “I Like Life” in my head. It’s from the musical Scrooge (1970) with Albert Finney playing Scrooge. When the song is introduced in the movie, the Ghost of Christmas Present is trying to teach Scooge that if he loves life, life will love him back. Scrooge doesn’t get it, of course, until the end of the story, but what a great song! I have decided that to love life is to love myself.

I hope you have blessed Holy celebrations or at the very least enjoy the change of seasons.

I have a special treat coming on Story~Power on April 28th. I’ll be chatting with Pam Grout one of the many wonderful spiritual teachers of our time. I hope you will take time to listen. The April 14th episode isn’t half bad either. I had a fun, and long conversation with a former student, Scott Hamilton, who is a budding screenwriter and film maker. 

I love doing Story~Power and am looking for more guests to fill out my roster of shows for the year. If you’ve got stories you want to talk about and want to be my guest, use the “Contact” tab to send me a message so we can set up a chat.

Welcome to my new followers and thanks to my old ones. I appreciate your likes, and occasional comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden ©2021

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a new podcast where she and her guests discuss the stories in all formats that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.

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Music Soothes the Soul

Cindy Midgorden is a retired elementary school music teacher.  After 35 years of teaching she has heard, and told, many stories!  Some of her favorite lessons included using classroom instruments to bring storybooks to life.   Life during retirement includes teaching piano lessons to young students as well as being a part of her church’s praise band.  A graduate of the University of Kansas, she is an avid basketball fan.  As a breast cancer survivor, she is learning the sport of Dragonboat Racing and loves to share stories about her escapades with her Dragon sisters.

Cindy lives in Independence, Missouri, with Mark, her husband of 38 years.  They have two grown children, a wonderful daughter in law, and a beautiful new granddaughter.  And, of course, Jerry the cat.  Before Covid life was very busy with many community activities but, since Covid, they are spending more time at home with family and watching movies!  She is also an avid reader, cross stitcher, and jigsaw puzzler.  She is in the process of learning to quilt and loves to hear stories of her grandmothers and how they quilted.

Music Soothes the Soul

Pumpernick’s Delicatessen & Restaurant Chain

Carnival, Music and Lyrics, Bob Merrill, Book, Michael Stewart, Gower Champion, Broadway Director

KU – University of Kansas

Graceland University

Music Therapy

Kansas City Symphony

Independence City Orchestra

Aaron Copland – Composer (1900 – 1990) The Tender Land Opera, (1954)

Stephen Foster – Composer (1826 – 1864)

James Taylor – Singer-songwriter, guitarist, (1948 – Present)

Carrie Underwood – Singer-songwriter (1983 – Present)

Matthew West – Singer-songwriter, Christian Musical Artist (1977 – Present)

Beach Boys American Rock (1961 – Present) album – All Summer Long

Jim Brickman – Pianist, Radio Host (1961 – Present)

Rascal Flatts Country Rock (1999 – Present) 

Sidewalk Prophets American Contemporary Christian (2003 – Present)

Summit Road Christian Band on Facebook

We are Messengers Christian Contemporary Rock (2015 – Present)

Tenth Avenue North Christian Contemporary Rock (2000 – Present)

Steven Curtis Chapman Christian Contemporary Rock (1987 – Present)

Pentatonix (2011 – Present) Albums available on iTunes

The Piano Guys (2010 – Present) Classical Crossover, Orchestral pop, Instrumental Rock, Videos available on YouTube

The Pat Metheny, Guitarist, Pat Metheny Group (1974 – Present) Jazz, jazz fusion, Latin jazz, progressive jazz

Kenny Loggins (1948 -Present) Singer-Songwriter, guitarist Years active (1968 – Present)

John Denver and the Muppets Christmas, (1979) Christmas TV special and album

Hillsong United, Worship music, contemporary Christian, Christian rock, (1998 – Present)

Bruce Hornsby, American Singer-songwriter, pianist, Rock, gospel, heartland rock, jazz, bluegrass, blues rock, years active  (1974 – Present)

Little Fires Everywhere, Novel Celeste Ng, Series, (2020) on Hulu, Lynn Shelton, Nzingha Stewart, Michael Weaver, Directors, Liz Tigelaar, Shannon Houston, Harris Danow, and 4 more, Teleplay, Shannon Houston, Poems

Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper, Movie (2009) Nick Cassavetes, Director, Jeremy Leven, Nick Cassavetes, Screenwriters, Also by Jodi Picoult, Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel

Gone With the Wind, Novel Margaret Mitchell, Movie (1939) Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood, Directors, Sidney Howard, Oliver H.P. Garrett, Ben Hecht, and 2 others Screenwriters

Downton Abbey (2010 – 2016) Julian Fellowes, Creator, Brian Percival, and 13 others, Directors, Julian Fellowes, Tina Pepler, Shelagh Stephenson, Screenwriters

Little House on the Prairie series, Novels Laura Ingalls Wilder, TV series, (1974 – 1983) Michael Landon and 9 others, Directors, Blanche Hanalis, Michael Landon, and many other Screenwriters

Caroline: Little House Revisited, Sarah Miller

Laura Ingalls Wilder Home, Mansfield Missouri

Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling

Game of Thrones, Novels, George R. R. Martin, (2011 – 2019) David Benioff, Creator, David Nutter, and 18 others, Directors, David Benioff, George R.R. Martin, and 7 others, Teleplay writers 

Love You Forever, Robert Munch

Mortimer, Robert Munch

Those Miller Girls, The Motoring Millers, Does Anybody Care About Lou Emma Miller?, Alberta Wilson Constant

Denise Grover Swank, The Curse Keepers A Roanoke series, Chosen series

Kim Vogel Sawyer – Author

Becoming, Michelle Obama

A Promised Land, Barack Obama

What Should I Read Next At Modern Mrs. Darcy – Podcast with Anne Bogel

Story~Power Episode #18, Virginia Pfau Thompson, “The Wonders of Art and Travel”

Pulitzer Prize Winning Book List

The Hate U Give, (2018) George Tillman Jr., Director,Novel, Angie Thomas, Audrey Wells, Screenwriter

On Golden Pond, (1981) Mark Rydell, Director, Ernest Thompson, Screenwriter

This is Us, (2016 – Present) Dan Fogelman, Creator, Ken Olin and 28 other, Directors, Dan Fogelman, and 38 other Screenwriters

The Shawshank Redemption, (1994) Frank Darabont, Director, Short Story “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”, Stephen King, Frank Darabont, Screenwriter

The Partridge Family, (1970 – 1974) Bernard Slade, Creator, Richard Kinon and 27 other Directors, Bernard Slade, and 39 other Television Writers

The Brady Bunch, (1969 – 1974) Sherwood Schwartz, Creator, Oscar Rudolph and 25 other Directors, Sherwood Swartz and 49 other Television Writers

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Barbara Robinson

Star Wars Saga, George Lucas, Creator

The Trial of the Chicago 7, (2020) Aaron Sorkin, Director, Aaron Sorkin, Screenwriter

SAG Awards, Screen Actor’s Guild, and AFTRA – American Federation of Radio and Television Artists 

Spotlight (2015) Tom McCarthy, Director, Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy, Screenwriters

Selma (2014) Ava DuVernay, Director, Paul Webb, Screenwriter

Forest Gump (1994) Robert Zemeckis, Director, Novel, Winston Groom, Eric Roth, Screenwriter

“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.” ~ Roger C. Schank, Cognitive Scientist

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The Wonders of Art and Travel

Virginia Thompson spends her days teaching adults to play in the mud as an Art instructor in Ceramics and Sculpture at Cochise College in Sierra Vista, AZ.  She has enough hobbies and interests for about 14 people, yet can’t seem to eliminate any of them to free up more time.  Along with being a professional potter and occasional installation artist, she enjoys hiking in the Huachuca Mountains and rock climbing on the weekends with her husband and friends, plays the piano and the banjo (but not at the same time), and sings more-or-less on-key with a small skiffle band as well as writing songs for them to perform.  She is an avid knitter and crocheter who has begun to experiment with pattern design, sews garments (mostly Covid masks these days) and quilts with the skills her mother taught her, enjoys exploring cooking plant-based international cuisine in her instant pot, and speaks quite passable Japanese and Spanish.  She has currently completed reading 32 of the 93 Pulitzer Prize novel / fiction- winning books, and is therefore 34% done with her mission to read them all.  Her two adorable cats comprise 98% of her instagram feed @vapfau.

Virginia Pfau Thompson

Empty Bowls Project

Cochise College

NCECA – National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts

National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

Scroll Paintings of Japan

Folk Tales from around the world

Fuji-cho, now a part of Sagaken, Nagasaki, Japan

Manga – comic books, “Hadashi no Gen” or “Barefoot Gen” (in English) about Nagasaki and the atomic bombs dropped there during WW II

Furuto Oribe curator of Ceramics for Lord Oda Nobunaga enthusiast of  Chado (the Way of Tea) connected to tea master Sen No Rikyū

   (Hyouge Mono (2011) Kôichi Mashimo and six other Directors, Hiroyuki Kawasaki, Yoshihiro Yamada, Screenwriters, Also in Manga (Comic Book) form 

Mission Impossible (1996) Brian De Palma, Director, Based on the TV series by Bruce Geller, David Koepp and Robert Towne, Screenwriters

The Last Samurai (2003) Edward Zwick, Director, John Logan, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Screenwriters

Frida (2002) Julie Taymor, Director, Book, Hayden Herrera, Clancy Sigal, Diane Lake, Gregory Nava, Anna Thomas, Screenwriters

Taiko Drumming

Six Famous Ancient Kilns of Japan, Set, Echizen, Tokoname, Shigaraki, Tanba, and Bizen 

Another ancient kiln, Hagi where they use seaweed water to enhance the clay

Seven Cups Fine Chinese Teas, Tucson Tea House

Casa Vicente in Tucson, Arizona. Temporarily closed.

Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona

Arizona Opera, Tucson Music Hall

Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

Tucson Museum of Art 

Nazca pottery For sale on Etsy

Glastonbury, England

  Silbury Hill, Avebury Circle

  Stonehenge

  West Kennet Long Barrow

Mimbres Potters of Western New Mexico

The Louvre, Paris, France

The Musée d’Osay, Paris, France

Claude Monet, Artist (1840 – 1926)

Édouard Manet, Artist (1832 – 1883)

Notre-Dame CathedralSculpture of Joan of Arc

Scheveningen, The Netherlands

Johannes Vermeer, Artist (1632 – 1675)

Adelaide, South Australia – Tanzania National Aboriginal Cultural Institute

The PradoGuernica by Pablo Picasso

The Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Loving Vincent (2017) Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Directors, Korota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, and Jacek Dehnel, Screenwriters 

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Raj Ghat, Gandhi’s cremation location, Delhi, India

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Laos, Bordered by North and South Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and China

Myanmar – The Hunger Games symbol, Movie (2012) Gary Ross, Director, Novel, Suzanne Collins, Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray, Screenwriters

Nepal – Brittney Spears posters

Coca Cola art, Ai Weiwei

Taiwan, Island Nation off the coast of China

Arita- Porcelain producing city in Japan

Pulitzer Prize Book List on Goodreads

  The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

  The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington

  Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

  The Color Purple, Alice Walker

  The Underground Railway, Colson Whitehead

  The Known World, Edward P. Jones

  All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

  The Overstory, Richard Powers

The Valley of Decision, Novel, Marcia Davenport, Movie (1945) Tay Garnett, Director, John Neehan, Sonya Levien, Screenwriters

Get Lit Bookstore“Support Your Local Bookstore”, episode #16

  Libro.FM

  Hummingbird Digital Media

  bookshop.org

Kobo e-reader – audiobook subscription

Mingei Movement in Japan Film  Upcycle Stitches post

Ghost, (1990) Jerry Zucker, Director, Bruce Joel Rubin, Screenwriter

Sundays At Tiffany’s, (2010) Mark Piznarski, Director, Jennifer Heath, Heather Maidat, Nancey Silvers, Teleplay, Novel, James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

The Red Violin, (1998) François Girard, Director, Don McKellar, François Girard, Screenwriters

The World Without Us, Alan Weisman

“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.” ~ Roger C. Schank, Cognitive Scientist 

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Spring Break Blues

Roller Coaster at night, Seaside Heights, NJ

This week would normally be spring break for me, but the college administration decided to begin the semester one week late and not have a spring break. I assume they wanted to keep all of us safe by keeping us home when normally we might be out and about.

It’s funny how over the years my mind and body are engrained with the schedule of the school year. I really want a week off to just do whatever I want to do with no students to check in on. I hope when I fully retire from teaching, I will begin to feel free to do what I want, when I want all the time and not plan my travel around school vacations.

Since it feels like it’s spring break, I want to take a break from writing this blog for a week or two. I need to recharge, change up my daily routine as much as possible and do some fun activities that I’ve wanted to do for awhile.

One of those activities is go to an art museum. When I was chatting with Virginia, a pottery teacher at Cochise College and my Story~Power guest for March 17, I was inspired by our discussion about visual art, the emotions the work can evoke, and the stories each piece can tell. I think Barry and I need to take ourselves on an artist date one day soon.

So, this is a short post to let you know that Story~Power will continue. I hope you tune into my conversation with Virginia. She tells some fascinating stories about living in Japan and her creation of and encounters with art. That episode airs here and on Apple, Google, and Spotify March 17.

Thanks so much to all of you who read, like, and comment on these posts. There is so much content out there, I’m honored you take the time to consume my humble thoughts.

Blessings and have a wonderful weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2021

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a new podcast where she and her guests discuss the stories in all formats that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.

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