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Monday, March 28, 2011

Royal Mail From the UK-- Hope Rocks

As soon as I saw the postal markings on the large, white envelope Superman brought into the bedroom for me this past week, I got excited. The package said "Royal Mail". Receiving mail has always been a Christmas like experience for me for as long as I can remember but once I realized who had sent me the package I squealed like a kid opening presents on Christmas morning.

I'd been resting in bed after my knee surgeries with Opie Taylor lying right beside me when Superman brought the mail in for me to open. He must have sensed my excitement because he perked right up, ready to see what had caused me to sit right up. I could see his tiny, pink nose twitching like a bunny's trying to catch a whiff of the object getting my utmost attention. Here's the story lined up in pictures as we open the package.

These are action shots so they may be a little fuzzy
(just like Opie)

The ribbon gets his attention right off the bat.

He takes it in his mouth.
He tugs, and pulls on it.
Inside the blue & white carton is a bundle of
purple tissue covering a small hard item.

Opie works until he gets it in his mouth.

Success! He then pulls it out of my hand
and drops it to the bed to further investigate.
Inside the purple tissue paper is a Hope Rock
with a delightful feather attached to its side.
The card inside reads ,
"To my adopted big sis, Lille"
How can a kitty resist??
They simply cannot...
Thank you, Dee Champion, my little sister across the pond,
for showing me some love Hope Rock style!
I am tickled, loved and healing!

I have mailed several Hope Rocks to friends who needed a little or a lot of Hope in their lives. I had no idea how amazing it feels to open a package and find a Hope Rock someone had lovingly made for me. I held it in my hand and thought of all my blessings, plus all of the things I had to be thankful for, and how loved I am. How could one not heal with a bundle of love like that??

My challenge, or encouragement depending on how you choose to look at it, is for you (whomever is reading this, whenever it's being read... today, next week, a month from now, etc) to make a Hope Rock and mail it to someone you know who could use some Hope. All you need is a rock and a Sharpie pen. Or you can get as creative as you wish. Fancy or simple does not change the message or detract from the messenger's intention. It is a powerful gift either way. Take a picture of your Hope Rock like Judith, from Renton, WA, did below before you mail it and post it on the Hope Rock Fan Page on FaceBook. Thank you so much for spreading Hope to the people of Renton, WA, Judith!

On one side Judith McWilliams Collins painted happy, silly faces
and on the other side she wrote the word Hope.
Very fun, and creative!

Sign up below to play along or leave me a comment to let me know you are participating. If you have a blog, I'll link back to you so others can see your Hope Rocks and where you hid them. That's the whole point of Hope Rocks. Paint them, hide them for someone to find and sleep well knowing you gave someone a loving blast of Hope! New visitors to Woodstock Lily's, you may read the Hope Rock story above at the top of the page listed right under my colorful header. The Mr. Linky below also lets people see the link to your blog. That's a good thing so sign up and play along.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Caturday's with Opie

"I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace." ~Dalai Lama~

Opie's translation...

"Make some biscuits on your Master's tummy before your nap.
It's the purr-fect way to spread happiness for all."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Caturday's with Opie

Attention cat and animal lovers!
It's time for another weekly edition
of Caturday's with Opie.
You have to admit he's a great sport
for modeling all the silly hair styles
I've had throughout the years.

If this is your first time to check out
Caturday's with Opie, make sure to scroll back
to see the other posts featuring Opie wearing
my hair styles. This week's Caturday's features a
hair style taken from my 8th grade school picture.
Yes, we can be silly around here at Woodstock Lily's.
Silly is good for what ails you.

Opie knows how to pose, and loves the camera.
Thanks to Audry Smart, my fabulous assistant,
and fantastic artist, who creates this magical fun
of Opie and me using Photoshop.
Opie does not wear wigs nor was he
harmed creating any of these pictures.
He's just likes to have a little fun, too.

Check back next week for another addition of Caturday's.

Surgery Update
My double knee surgery this past Tuesday went very well. I'll admit there were a couple of days this past week I questioned my sanity for doing both knees at the same time, but now that the severe pain has subsided, I'm convinced I did the right thing. I haven't used my crutches for the last day and am walking fairly well even if it's snail paced. Opie Taylor hasn't left my side much except to eat and take care of business. He's really quite a comfort, and intuitively senses my emotions, physical condition, and my mental state. Superman has been my white knight in shining armor underneath that red cape, and never flinched when I had my cranky pants on during the extremely painful few days right after the surgery. He's an amazing man without a doubt. Thank you, Superman, and Opie Wan Kenobe.

My heartfelt thanks goes out to each of you who've sent me cards, messages and posted regularly on my FaceBook page asking how I am or sending love and healing. I can feel each ounce of caring, and love from you. In no time, I'll be back kicking my heels up, and dancing in my studio like a teenager. Plus as soon as I can stand or sit comfortably, I'll be finishing the angel painting and video.

~Much love and gratitude to you all~

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

W.U.W. Flippin' Fear Off

Japan's emperor spoke about HOPE today in a public announcement about the situation his country is dealing with. His short video message about having hope left a lump in my throat. "Never Give Up Hope." There's a lot of energy buzzing in the air worldwide and it can feel like a bevy of bees in your stomach especially if you already are dealing with PTSD. I lived in southern CA most of my life and have been through some pretty horrific earthquakes. One time I was stuck in an elevator all by myself at a large hotel in Anaheim when a terrifying earthquake hit. I had no idea what was going on until the car stopped midway between floors, then when the doors opened, I looked up to see the huge hotel chandeliers swaying like palm trees in a hurricane. Holy crap! I turned into Wonder Woman as I leaped up out of there in 2 seconds flat!

Mother Earth is in the process of changing like I mentioned on last week's W.U.W. [Wake Up Wednesdays] Her poles are trying to shift and balance. Time is moving faster. The air frequencies have a charge to them now. I'm sure you all feel it.
I was beginning to feel fear put a choke hold on me then I read a powerful story that helped me shift out of fear. It's a story about Hope. It's about bravery. It's about living one's dreams. It's about finding your sassy pants and flippin' fear off. It's how I want to face fear when it roars at me.

Anna and her daughter, Ava, scampering about.

The morning of Tokyo's 9.0 earthquake, Anna Kunnecke's young daughter wasn't feeling well, and stayed home from school. For a few brief moments Anna was faced with the challenge of rearranging her work day, which is hard to do at the last moment with a busy career, but she adjusted, and went on about her day. Anna is a successful voice over artist, and life coach trained by Dr. Martha Beck, author of Expecting Adam and monthly columnist at O, the Oprah Magazine. She's lived and worked most of her life in Tokyo. In one split second she watched, and felt, her entire world turn upside down. I'll let her tell you about it. Friends, meet Anna Kunnecke, her story, her words below.

All photos courtesy of Anna


March 13, 2011

As I write this, I am in Tokyo. It’s been 48 hours since the biggest earthquake that's ever been recorded in Japan. Ever since the sheer terror of those five minutes in which our building shook and swayed and groaned, and I didn’t know if my daughter and I would make it out alive, I have been glued to the public lens—tv, facebook, text messages, photos—with a surreal combination of horror and paralysis. The devastation north of us is shocking. The normalcy of Tokyo is shocking, too, except that water, rice, and batteries are disappearing from the supermarkets. And looming over everything is the very real chance that a nuclear reactor will melt down and release unfathomably toxic substances into the air, water, and land.

I have been afraid—terrified, really—for 48 hours.

People, I am here to say, that is long enough.

Here is where my fear got me: my head aches. My shoulders ache. My jaw aches, from clenching it. My breath is short and shallow. My heart aches at every sad photograph, and my nervous system is at the mercy of every authoritarian voice broadcasting worry.

In that condition, I am no more useful to the world, my family, or myself than a very anxious marmoset.

So here is how I am changing my frequency. If this stuff is working for me today, it will work for you too—whether you are afraid about your finances, your future, your failing left tail light, or your embarrassing flail in yesterday’s meeting.

1. I turned off the news. I can receive up-to-the-minute information via text, and my heart is already with those who are suffering. When I read information, it goes to my brain and not straight to my primal fight-or-flight response. The music and images of TV news are geared to trigger panic and an empathic flood; I’ve decided not to let myself get triggered.

2. I cleaned my house. This grounded me, calmed me, and got me back into my body, which is a much more reliable navigation system than my shrieking reptile survival brain, what Martha Beck calls my ‘lizard.’ My lizard tells me that we are DOOOOMED. My body tells me that we need to stretch, to sing, to self-soothe with quiet rhythms. (Folding laundry works nicely.)

3. I faced the worst-case scenario. My partner and I came up with a plan for what we would do if the reactor begins to spew, or if there is a serious food crisis in Tokyo, or any of the other frightening scenarios that have been haunting me. Now that I know what I will actually do if any of those events come to pass, I can dismiss them when they clamor for my attention. And the last line of every plan is: “And if none of that works, we wing it as well as we can.” This is actually a pretty good plan.

4. I questioned my scary thoughts. My underlying thought, the one that was making my heart palpitate and my fists clench, was: “We are in danger right this very second!” I asked, “Is this true?” And the answer is, Who the heck knows? We could be, for sure. But then any of us could be in danger at any minute of any day. But what I know right now is that I am sitting in my apartment with running water, electricity, heat, and very fast internet. My loved ones are safe. We are getting the best information we know how to get. So I choose to live in the blissful sense of safety that most of us inhabit when we’re not acutely aware that the sky could fall at any moment. Believing that I am safe is no more arbitrary, at this particular moment in time, than believing that I am in danger, but it feels a lot better and it makes me more insightful, more courageous, and more wise. It lets me think more creatively and compassionately. And all those things, paradoxically, will work to keep me and the ones I love safe. If I am in real physical danger, my system will flood with adrenaline and I will be able to act on the terror I’ve been feeling and suppressing these last two days. I will run, or fight, or negotiate, or do whatever I need to do. Until then, I choose to keep breathing deep, calming breaths (Thanks, Terry DeMeo) and asking myself, “Is that scary thought even true?”

5. I took constructive action. I made up a backpack full of emergency items and our important paperwork. Maybe your constructive action is making a phone call or getting something checked out. Maybe it’s opening the scary envelope or looking at your online balance. You’ll feel better if you just do it, I promise.

6. I let my body release. Because I was with my daughter during the most frightening part of the quake (lying on the floor of our 16th-floor apartment as it pitched and creaked like a ship in a storm), I spent significant energy holding it together for her. We talked a bit about how scared we both were, and she seemed okay, but later she had a major sobbing meltdown about something inconsequential. Then she was perky again. Little kids are very wise that way. I waited until I was alone in bed that night to sob and shudder. With each heave of my shoulders and shuddering quaking tremble, I let some of my fear and tension release. Animals tremble and shudder to shake off trauma; we need to do it too, even when the trauma is only visible to us.

7. I consciously flooded myself with beauty. I listened to music that makes me want to move my body and heal the world. For me this means Christine Kane, The Dixie Chicks, and other things too embarrassing to write here. I also bought flowers today, a big gorgeous bouquet of them, in a flagrant act of flipping the bird at fate. I am buoyed and nourished by their blooming faces as I make my way through my home.

8. I grounded back into my purpose. I had a brief panic about a class I’m teaching in a few weeks, The Queen Sweep. I wondered if clearing clutter would seem frivolous in light of global tragedy. I questioned its ultimate value in the world and the worth of the work I do. In other words, I freaked out. Many people are layering their immediate fear with scary thoughts like this about their future worth and their careers. Screw that. In a crisis like this, I’m more glad than ever that I know exactly where to find my passport; that my papers are in order and I’ve declared a guardian for my daughter; that we all have clean underwear and clean sheets to sleep on; and that my home is an oasis of calm and beauty. Whatever the crisis, the world needs people who are sharp, who know their stuff, and know what they can contribute. Be ready to bring what you can to the table.

9. I gazed at my daughter. She is so beautiful. She is so alive through her fear, her joy, her rage, her desire—she doesn’t shut any of it down. It’s all right there, messy and inconvenient at times, but gloriously awake.

10. Most importantly, I remembered that I am the boss of my own energy. I kept waiting for someone to make me feel better, to reassure me, to tell me what to do. Guess what? No one can declare dominion over my life besides me. I have to be the leader that I was waiting for. Chin up, deep breath, flowers on table. Here we go.

Anna Kunnecke

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Caturday's with Opie

I may need to get some ears like Opie's.
Somehow he can make a face...
errrr I mean a bad hair do look better, don't you think?
I'm sure it's the ears.

Me circa 1978 modeling days.

No wonder my cat is strung out on kitty grass.
Join us next week for another edition of
Caturday's With Opie.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hope Rocks Week 8

This Hope Rock was made by Andrea from Falling Ladies Blog's mother.
Check out that sassy handmade cover!!
Thank you so much for spreading Hope in such a creative manner.

Starting the week of March 21, I'll be moving the Hope Rocks posts to Mondays. I'm having surgery on both knees on the 15th of this month so may miss next week's Hope Rocks post. I'm relieved the doctor is able to take care of both of them at the same time. I'll definitely be taking some Hope Rocks with me to the hospital. One for me to hold onto and some others to leave for the next patients or staff.

Regardless of my posting or not next week on my blog, you can always go to the Hope Rocks page on FB to leave your pics and comments there. Click HERE to get there. Just let me know if I miss your posts on your blogs so I can link up to you in the next edition of Hope Rocks on Woodstock Lily's.

This weeks players are....
Ummm bet you didn't know you were players did you?

OK... How about this?
This week participants in Hope Rocks are....
Drum roll, please!

Well, you all saw the snazzy Hope Rock above created by Andrea's Mom and Dad. They saw her posts about Hope Rocks and wanted to get in the action, and boy they sure did just that! I tell you this just keeps getting more and more spectacular seeing all the creative ways people decorate their Hope Rocks. Andrea and her Mom both hid their Hope Rocks in a similar location. Caring runs in your family, Andrea, and I am honored to have you and your parents onboard with us here at Hope Rocks. Thank you, Thank you, thank you!! Go check it out to see where they hid their Hope Rocks. Falling Ladies Blog

Andrea's Hope Rock this week.

I have a prayer request for 2 people.

1. Dee, who you all read about here on my blog. She needs some prayer warriors to storm the hospital doors to get a surgery to remove a cyst on her ovary. The staff hasn't been too cooperative and Dee needs some peace in her heart about this. Please pray for peace of mind for her, strength, for the cyst to shrivel up and die, and for her to feel each and every prayer sent her way. ((((Dee)))) feel the peace, love, and cyst shrinking! We've got your back!

2. Rita, she's the best friend of my best friend's daughter. Rita was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in December. It spread and has been growing rapidly after a surgery she had. She's in the hospital now recovering from a nuclear blast of chemo. She's having another scan this next week to see how the tumors responded to the chemo. Her husband's name is John. Pray for him, too. They are a super couple and need a break NOW! I sent them both a Hope Rock last week. Rita's been handling her illness with humor and great faith. She's an inspiration to all.

Meanwhile, keep the Hope Rocks coming. The world needs HOPE. Pray that people who need hope find it and those who have it, hold on to it. There are times we are called to stand in the gap when others are tired. This is why making Hope Rocks can and does change lives. It's a tangible form of Hope they can hold onto.

Don't forget to sign up on the Mr. Linky below so I know you're participating this week. Thank you!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Angel Painting Auction For Breast Cancer

I've been working on an angel painting (shown on video below) and believe I am supposed to auction/raffle it so the proceeds can be donated toward a worthy cause. Since I have several friends who are currently fighting a courageous battle with breast cancer or are breast cancer survivors, I'm being strongly pulled in this direction. After you watch the video below, please leave a comment and let me know what organizations that support breast cancer patients you feel would most benefit with this donation of love.

My video below is one of the sections of the promotional video I'm making to garner donations/support for it being auctioned off. I'm also leaning toward a "raffle" type donation so more can participate, and subsequently, more will have a chance at winning it. One entry $10.00 or 3 for $20.00. What do you think about that? I'll have an account set up through Pay Pal (or other reputable means) for people to donate monies to that will also be linked to the organization I end up selecting.

The music on this section of my time lapsed video of me painting on the angel is by one of my favorite female vocalists, Moya Brennan. The song is called "Perfect Time". You can find her website HERE. I look forward to hearing from you and learning what breast cancer organizations you feel would benefit from a donation or support like this.

Meanwhile, I'm painting away in a heavenly realm and praying for guidance, wisdom and love to flow with each stroke of my brush while I complete her. Take a peek at her on the video below.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Caturday's with Opie

Looking at Opie's pose, he's really getting into Caturday's...
Should I be concerned??

Nahhhh... He just likes to have fun.

We all need a little fun in our day.
Hence, Caturday's!!!

Which one of my hair styles will Opie Taylor be sporting next week?
Meet you here...
Same time...
Same place...
With a new do...
Hair-do that is~

Oh BIG announcement coming this week.
Stay tuned. It's huge!!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hope Rocks Week 7

Carole Bryson Wood from the UK made these Hope Rocks
and hid them in Rochdale, Lancashire, UK.
Carole's Hope Rocks have a special message on back
to remind people about breast cancer awareness.
Thank you, Carole and welcome to Hope Rocks.

Our fan page on facebook (click here for the Fan page) keeps growing, and growing, thanks to all of you who have helped spread the word. The Hope Rocks people are making just blow me away, and the stories they share with me make me want to squeal with glee because so many people are giving, kind and want to help others feel inspired or hopeful again about whatever it is in life they need or have been praying to happen.

I've seen story after story about people who have huge needs yet choose to make a Hope Rock so someone will find it and feel hope in their hearts. I'd say this is paying it forward, as Betsi Procter, wrote on our Hope Rock FaceBook page.

Here are a few more wonderful people and the Hope Rocks they've made.

Tina Mansfield from OK made this beautiful Hope Rock.
Thank you, Tina! Let us know where you hid it on the fan page!

Andrea from Falling Ladies hid her Hope Rock on a sidewalk leading to a lake.
A few days later it was gone...
Her detective work to see where it ended up may surprise you.
This woman is dedicated! Thank you, Andrea!

Sandy Coleman from Creations by Coleman made this Hope Rock and added some bling to it. Look at the picture closely before you hop over to her blog to see where she hid it to see if you can guess where she hid it. I love the creative places people, like sandy, are coming up with to leave a Hope Rock at.

Sign up in the Mr. Linky's box below to help me know you are playing along this next week. I'll look for your pics on the Hope Rocks FaceBook page, too.

Let's Keep Hope Rockin'!!


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