Thursday, October 27, 2011


After a late night in the ICU, I was exhausted and famished. I made my way to a nearby restaurant. My mind was jumbled, but I finally found something on the menu that appealed to me. Petya took my order. As she spoke, I noticed her lovely accent.

After nourishment, I felt somewhat restored. I asked Petya of her accent's origin. She shared, thirteen years ago, she immigrated to the United States from Bulgaria. During each airline connection from Prague to London and on to Minneapolis, Petya noticed a man her age, who was on her flights. Finally, she asked him, Ivo, where he was going. He was also from Bulgaria, and his destination was the same as Petya's, a university in Edmond, Oklahoma.

"It must have been meant to be," said Petya.

Petya and Ivo eventually married. Each of them worked one-to-two jobs and, without student loans, went to college. They completed two-year degrees, followed by receiving Bachelors Degrees in Finance. They both continued to work and Ivo advanced to graduate school.

Ivo had just completed his Masters Degree in Business Administration and was looking for work. Petya proudly related rather than a CPA, Certified Public Accountant, Ivo wanted to become a CFA, Certified Financial Analyst. To obtain the latter certification, Ivo must work three years in the field and yearly pass a rigorous examination.

Petya plans to enroll in graduate school and possibly obtain a Masters Degree in Dietetics. After which, she wants to start her own business and work with obese children and diabetics.

From Petya's count, there are 10-to-12 Bulgarian immigrants living in the Oklahoma City area, and they are a close-knit "family." With Petya's evening job, she babysits, during the day, for two of her Bulgarian, women friends, so they can also work.

With the absurd furor about immigration, Petya and Ivo are people that I am absolutely delighted made their way to my home state. I'd like more people like them to follow their path. The have much to teach us about perseverance and hard work.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


As we watched and waited, I became acquainted with Donna. Four months earlier, her husband, Wayne, had been diagnosed with in-operable colon cancer. After traversing the rigors of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Donna said Wayne continued to have severe pain.

A day prior to Nick's heart attack, Wayne, at 57, had a stroke, affecting both sides of his brain. Wayne's neurologist told Donna and her two sons that Wayne would not survive the stroke. He gave Wayne only a few days to live.

Donna and the sons stayed at Wayne's bedside and reviewed each new brain with the doctor. They looked for some sign of improvement. The scans revealed the contrary.

Finally, Donna signed the Do Not Resuscitate, DNR, papers. The following night, outside the hospital chapel, Donna and I had a long talk. She was questioning her decision to sign the DNR papers. She talked of Wayne and what a strong, vibrant man he had been. We discussed the possibility the stroke might have been a blessing in disguise. It would spare Wayne a long, agonizing cancer death. We also spoke of our spiritual beliefs. On my departing for the night, Donna and I hugged, and she entered the chapel to pray.

When I saw Donna the next morning, she was peaceful. She had let go. After 32 years with Wayne, Donna knew living without him would be lonely and painful, but she appeared resolute and strong. Clearly, she would find her way.

I was fortunate. Nick came home and has recovered. I felt love and compassion for those who lost loved ones. For, all vigils come to an end, and the survivors are left to carry on.

Monday, October 24, 2011


During Nick's five days in the ICU, I was often found in his room or standing outside it or in the waiting area. From this vantage point, I watched the comings and goings of many.

For every occupant in an ICU bed, a constellation of family and friends hold vigil. Bound together in similar experiences, we often confided in and comforted one another.

There were the three sisters, along with their husbands and children, grieving the last few days of their mother's life, after her long struggle with breast cancer.

Fifteen years earlier, Molly's husband, Frank, had three-vessel, heart-bypass surgery. Now, in his late sixties, all of his vessels were occluded, and his time was near. As his life ebbed, Frank was lovingly tended by his wife and sons. Molly had resigned herself to the inevitable but received comfort in knowing that Frank was "returning home."

Standing less than five feet tall, in a yellow, sweat suit, Maxine hovered outside her husband, George's, room. Maxine, 85 and the mother of five, said she and her husband had been married for 67 years. George was a retired Southern Baptist minister. According to Maxine, he had been the epitome of a loving husband and father. However, during George's stay in the ICU, Maxine related he had been "out of his mind." With much chagrin, Maxine tearfully said that throughout their years together, George had never spoken to her or used such language,as was his current manner. Maxine attributed it to the medicine being used to treat George's pneumonia.

Maxine looked lost. I sensed George was her anchor. I was reminded, in such marriages as Maxine and George's the death of one spouse is often quickly followed by the death of the other.

Maxine, Molly, the three sisters and I continued to wait, watch and pray.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Last February my man "friend," Nick, had a "massive" heart attack. As he struggled to breathe, I called 911. The firemen came, followed by the ambulance and its attendants. In a very orderly fashion, they worked to stabilize Nick and transport him to the hospital. I followed behind. After an angiogram and a stint placement, he was transferred to the Cardiac ICU, where we settled in for the next five days.

With bells ringing, lights flashing and whistles blowing, electronic wizardry monitored Nick's heart rhythm, blood oxygen level, blood pressure and pulse. The gadgets were crucial, but the nurses were invaluable. To what could have been a very dehumanizing experience, these women enfolded Nick with thoughtful kindness. It was obvious that Nick was not a diagnosis in a bed. He had no doubt the nurses cared and his well-being was important to them.

Nick's cardiologist, Dr. Prabhu, was extremely well-trained and a very kind soul. Knowing Dr. Prabhu was heading the medical helm gave us confidence and a sense of safety, but the ever-present ICU nurses were our vital, human link.

Our bodies, minds and spirits are an integrated whole. Hardware and technicians can tinker with the body's mechanics ad infinitum. However, if the patient's emotional and spiritual needs go untended, the body will die. The ICU nurses provided the healing, human touch.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I am having a love affair with acrylic paint. On a canvas, there is no amount that is too much. I might use three or more large tubes on a 16" x 20" canvas. I love the paints swirling fluidity, and the exquisite patterns formed as the colors merge.

For now, I am not interested in creating a particular image. I am exploring my inner world of rotating, spiraling, oscillating color. I enter and dance in this realm of energy and its vibrations.

This world at our centers is the seat of our souls. This domain is a part of Divine Consciousness and the source of our inner knowing and intuition. This realm is as much a part of God as a drop of the ocean is the ocean.

After a stressful day, my tension dissipates when I pick up a brush or palette knife and allow my spirit free rein. Then, I am allowed admittance into the Divine symphony of color and form.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Over the last fifteen years, my writing has been subjected to the scrutiny of a number of human editors. From them, I learned much.

Now, I am edited by a computer. Often, my computer program is my best friend. Other times, it makes me laugh. Its lack of a brain creates a nonsensical sentence or two. However, I am sure the sentence is well punctuated.

My program is very picky about my repeating a word. I frequently over-ride its suggestions. The repetition clarifies my point.

This electronic gadget also chastises me for my long sentences. I have become used to it. The program will have to get over it. My name goes at the top or bottom of the page.

I often enjoy a country spin on things. My rural vernacular is also subjected to my electronic editors scorn. Sometimes I spiff it up a little and, other times, I don't.

Well, for the moment, I have run out of words. So, I will check with my editor and see how I fared on this piece.


Before I begin a new canvas, I feel the need to experience a particular color or combination of colors. I frequently receive visions of one or two strokes of the color on canvas.

In the midst of the process, with painting flying everywhere, I may hear an inner voice. In an early piece, of course everything is early now, I was using a combination of orange and yellow and was told, "Make it dance." I began to feel the rhythm of the colors, and they danced.

On another canvas, I was again working with yellow and orange. It was 2:00-to-3:00 a.m. I kept making a circle that resembled a fiery orb. I repeatedly questioned, "What is this?"

A few minutes later, I began to laugh. Internally, I heard Johnny Cash singing, "Burn, burn, burn and the flames grow higher ... that ring of fire." I was painting the ring.

Other times, I am in the throes of various color combinations and am not sure where I am going. Then, the title comes to me. I am never left wandering alone.


I have studied art, artists and art history for almost fifty years. Art is my passion. When I was pregnant with my first child, Billy, I worked in the town library. Ms. French, the librarian, allowed me to paint posters for book displays. My paint drippings resembled those of Jackson Pollock. Bless her heart. Ms. French was blind as a bat. She and I loved my posters. The remainder of the rural townspeople had other opinions, but at least they kept it to themselves.

To date, I have written two books framed in art, Renaissance Woman and Ivey Hayes, the Art of Living. I had presumed my artistic abilities were limited to enjoying and studying art but did not include its creation.

In April of this year, I joined other women in an art class. I enjoyed talking to the women, particularly Patti, the teacher. I was afraid to pick up a brush and was preparing to leave. Then, I saw the other women go to work on their projects. Like an orphaned child, I looked on.

They were painting a bit of everything. Patti said there were no rules in her studio. "Paint whatever comes to your mind," she said. "And you can never use too much paint."

Well that suited me to a T. I love art with lots of color and texture. Van Gogh was my kind of guy.

As I perused the jumbled array of materials, I spied a long, narrow piece of canvas, with stringy edges. I promptly began to separate the loose threads.

For weeks, the color, purple, had come to my inner vision. I was hungry for it. I rummaged through the paints and found a match. I squirted purple on a palette, also known as a meat packaging tray. Finally, I picked up a brush. Floodgates opened within me. I was carried into another dimension of myself, the artist.

Fifty paintings later, I am going strong. As I said earlier, it is never to late to have a happy childhood.


I have spent much of my life in rooms with white or beige walls. In the spring of 2010, I was depressed and decided I needed a little color to cheer me up. I promptly began to purchase green paint samples, for one wall of my living room. I splashed six shades on it before I found "the" peridot green I desired. The green, which resonates with the heart chakra, energized me. So, I covered the opposing wall with the same hue. My living room looks like a long, peridot sandwich.

In the meantime, my project had mushroomed. I decided to paint my dining room a solar-plexus yellow and a bedroom wall, behind my bedstead, an indigo blue, which vibrates with the energy level of the third eye.

I repeated my color selection process. Those little sample cards don't do it for me. I require a big dollop of paint on the wall to see and feel its frequency. During this process, my walls looked like a two-year-old had gone wild with a paint brush, and they probably did. (You are never too old to have a happy childhood.)

It worked. The colors morphed my spirit to a higher plane.


Following a suicide, I have repeatedly heard mourners espouse the departed is free of pain and in a peaceful place.

I'm not so sure about that. I have also heard and read that when a soul exits its body, self-induced or otherwise, it vibrates at the same energetic frequency as it did during its embodiment. For me, this belief resonates true.

I also believe that each soul incarnates on the planet to grow spiritually and/or to help others grow spiritually.

For many years of my life, I suffered from severe depression and was daily suicidal. The only thought that kept me alive was my belief in reincarnation. I reasoned that I wanted to learn whatever lessons I came for, because I sure didn't want to repeat this sucker again.

After growing, and continuing to grow, through my pain, I smile over the latter paragraph. For I now have a much broader awareness of the purpose and meaning of this incarnation.

For now, my message is:

"No matter what your pain, pray and don't hurt yourself."

"And don't quit before your miracle."

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Eleven years ago, a patient and I had a parting of the ways. We "agreed to disagree," regarding issues of my time and payment. Since that time, we have concurrently attended a number of non-professional meetings. Through gossip, she has assassinated my character. When she and I are in close proximity, her anger toward me is palpable. When I speak in the group, she often leaves the room.

She is very popular, charming and has a great sense of humor. Over the years, her behaviors and attitudes toward me have been very hurtful. When she is near, I pray for her.

Today, we were again in a meeting together. She shared her struggles and pain. Later, as others shared similar experiences, she began to cry. It was the first time I had seen her cry. I felt an enormous amount of love and compassion for her.

She was sitting a few chairs away. I was drawn to hand her a tissue and tell her I loved her. When I approached, she recoiled and said, "I don't want to talk to you. I don't consider you my friend. Don't talk to me."

Emotionally, I felt slapped. I returned to my seat, and my tears flowed. Throughout the day, I have reflected on this incident.

My hurt is dissipating. I feel incredible sadness for this woman. She is a tortured soul. I hope she finds her way.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Over the years, I have learned everything I think does not require my expression. If I do not practice restraint of tongue and pen, I will have to apologize for my ill-tempered words. I certainly had a close call last week.

Earlier in the year, I had seen a depressed, young man and received many phone calls from his distraught mother. Her son kept two therapy appointments. As we approached his issues, he became a phantom patient. He missed his three subsequent visits and followed none of my recommendations. Occasionally, he would call for an appointment. When I returned his call, he did not answer and his message machine was full.

I had not seen him for six months. Last week, he called, left a message and urgently requested/demanded that I write a letter on his behalf and fax it to his attorney. First, I always see the patient immediately prior to preparing a letter for the court. Second, I'm like a Missouri mule. A patient can politely ask me for a favor, and I will usually accommodate them. However, I refuse to respond to a demand.

Weary of being treated like a free Psychiatric 7-11, I promptly returned the call. To my surprise, I could leave a message. I reminded him that he had missed several appointments, and I was not a get-out-of-jail-free card. Yes, I was a little over the top, but he was the end of a long line of entitled young men, who have paraded through my office and mistook me for their mother.

A few hours later, after a long day of seeing patients, I received a voice message from the young man's mother. She was irate and unkind. As it often happens, the young "adults," problems stem from overly indulgent caregivers.

I was exhausted, infuriated and hurt. I wanted to call her back and tell her what I thought, but I refrained. I knew I needed to sleep on the situation.

The following morning, I composed a rational, professional letter for the mother and itemized the series of events that led up to previous day. I was grateful that I used restraint of tongue and pen, because I did not want to apologize to her or her recalcitrant offspring.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


We often live with our eyes downcast or our vision obstructed by blinders. It takes courage to live with our eyes wide open.

What does it mean to live with eyes wide open?

It means to have a full view of the banquet life places before us. To feast on the banquet, we must release our narrow ways of thinking and our judgemental and self-negating and world-negating attitudes.

It is our choice to walk within the narrow view made visible with our blinders. It is a familiar path, worn smooth by our plodding. We know every twist and curve along its course. Often times, the journey is boring,depressing and devoid of energy, but it is "safe." Its choice is a living death.

However, if we choose to rip off the blinders of our narrow thoughts, we will see the luscious panorama of life's abundance. This path requires trust in the Divine. In spite of our fears, this path also requires action. But, living life with eyes wide open brings fresh air, sunshine, adventure, joy and fulfillment and, when its your time to leave the planet, you will know you truly lived.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


After reading my autobiography, Red Earth Woman, a friend, Nell, asked me if I had forgiven my parents.

I told Nell, because of my spiritual healing over the past 25 years, I had forgiven them.

However, I wondered if Nell had asked me the question because she had been emotionally and/or physically traumatized. I went on to caution her, in the early phases of recovery, one must feel to the depth of their being, their pain and anger. Forgiveness comes much later.

I believe we incarnate on the planet to grow spiritually and to help others grow spiritually. My parents were my greatest teachers. They forced me to go to the center of my being, where my True Self resides. In my pain, I cried out to my only source of strength, the God of my understanding. To be free of my pain, I had to surrender all of me to my Higher Power and become willing to do whatever was necessary to change my thoughts and their resultant emotions and actions.

My parents are in their eighties and preparing to cross to the other side. I send them forgiveness, love and compassion. They each carry heavy burdens, and I can only imagine the torture of their souls. I pray they both find peace.

Monday, October 10, 2011

PRAYERS - Abbreviated

In addition to the preceding prayers, I have three abbreviated prayers I frequently use throughout the day.

"I am yours, Dear God. I am yours."

"Thy will not mine be done."

"Show me the way, Dear God. Show me the way."

I have practiced these prayers for many years. Now, on awakening, I internally hear their words. Throughout the day, I realize I am praying them. They have become my mantra. As my friend, Jo Ann, says, "The prayers are now praying me."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

PRAYER - Lord's Prayer - Another Translation

Apparently, there are a variety of translations, from the original Aramaic, of the Lord's Prayer. My favorite is Mark Hathaway's translation, which is based on the work of Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz.

"O Cosmic Birther of all radiance and vibration!
Soften the ground of my being and carve out a space within me where Your Presence can abide.
Fill me with Your Creativity so that I may be empowered to bear the fruit of Your Mission.
Let each of my actions bear fruit in accordance with Your Desire.
Endow me with the wisdom to produce and share what each being needs to grow and flourish.
Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind me, as I release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.
Do not let me be seduced by that which would divert me from my true purpose, but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.
For You are the ground and the fruitful vision, the birth-power and fulfillment, as all is gathered and made whole once again."

This beautiful prayer comforts me and resonates with my True Self.

Many Blessings, LB

Saturday, October 8, 2011

PRAYER - The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer is another prayer used frequently in 12-step programs:

"God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can,
And wisdom to know the difference."

I use a personalized version of the prayer, changing us to me and we to I. Over many years, the use of this prayer has taught me that I am powerless over people, places, things and situations. Acceptance is difficult but, after many failures to change anything outside of myself, I had to admit complete defeat, which is the beginning of acceptance.

The only person I can change is me, and I require God's help to do that. Many of our ways of thinking, that result in our feelings and behaviors, are very familiar but uncomfortable. Great courage is required to ask a Power greater than we are for help and take a leap of faith into the unknown. The Third Step and Seventh Step Prayers guide us in this process.

It is a wise person who stops fighting anything or anyone, including themselves. Knowledge or information can be gleaned from a book or computer and regurgitated. After an arduous journey, wisdom is found within, in the seat of the soul.

Friday, October 7, 2011

PRAYER - Seventh Step Prayer

The following is the Seventh Step Prayer, which is also from the literature of the 12-step programs.

"My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.
I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.
Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen."

In the first sentence, we are willing for our Creator to take all of us, not just our "bad" traits. Actually, what we think is a good trait, used in excess can become a negative trait. Excellent organizational skills are an attribute when held in balance, but the skill becomes destructive when it is used to organize and regulate the lives of others. If we are to grow spiritually, we can't pick and choose what part we give to our Higher Power. We have to turn over the whole package.

The second sentence allows God to select which of our characters traits need to be removed. However, we usually have an inkling of what our character defects might be by the emotional and/or physical pain they cause us.

Furthermore, the reason for the removal of our character defects is not so we can tip toe through the tulips and live happily ever after. The purpose is to fit ourselves for maximum service to God and man.

And, so it is.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

PRAYER - Third Step Prayer

For many years, I have used four prayers. Three of them are borrowed from 12-step programs, the Third Step, the Seventh Step and the Serenity Prayers, and the last prayer is an alternate translation of the Lord's Prayer.

In my belief system, God, or the Universe, does not need a grocery list or a Christmas list of my wants. For me, the following prayers align my will rightly with God's.

Third Step Prayer:

"God, I offer myself to Thee - to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always! Amen."

There are several elements that are key for me within this prayer. In the second sentence, the word, bondage, is power packed. My bondage is my wants, my fears, my anger, my selfishness and my ego, to name just a few. I can only be released from these defects of my character through Divine Power.

Sentence three, "Take away my difficulties, that victory ...," the operative word is "victory," not defeat. But the purpose of our victory over our difficulties is not for our self-aggrandizement, but to "bear witness to those I would help" of God's Power, Love and Way of Life.

Our victories are signs of Divine Power and Will in our lives. We carry our Higher Source's light to others in our thoughts, words and behaviors. We are the message.
God is the messenger.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Anger, when harbored, becomes resentment, and the person they hurt the most is their owners. I have heard it said that if we are angry and resentful toward someone that we are carrying them around in our head's rent free. Actually, we are carrying these toxic emotions around in every cell of our bodies.

I have also been told, if I have anger or resentment toward someone, to pray for them. My prayers have varied over the years. Early on, I prayed for their happiness, health and prosperity, whither I meant it or not and, eventually, I would mean it. Later, I prayed for them to be surrounded by Divine light and love, and I still use this prayer. Now, my go to prayer is, "God bless them."

I have found that I cannot bless someone and be angry with them at the same time. The "Law of Attraction" holds that what I send out returns to me multiplied. I prefer to send my boomerang out loaded with blessings.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Recently, a friend asked me, "Are you ever afraid?"

My immediate answer was, "No."

What I meant by that statement is that fear does not run or control my life. Certainly, being human, I have the occasional niggling fears about my health or my finances. But, through years of practice, my next thought is that the Universe always supplies my needs, not my wants, and all I really need is food, clothing and shelter. The second thought restores my internal peace.

For many years, I have practiced two principles:

- I turn my will and my life over to the care of the Higher Power of my understanding.

- I seek through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with that Power, or God, and I pray only for the knowledge of God's will for me and the power to carry it out.

For me, if I practice these principles to the best of my ability, there is an inherent promise that I will be taken care of, and I will be given the power necessary to do my Higher Source's will.

I have a daily choice. However, when I work to align my will with the Divine will, I am peaceful, free of fear and things just seem to turn out better.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Dr. Masaru Emoto's book, The Hidden Messages in Water, discloses his research on the simple molecule, which comprises 70 percent of the adult human body. Dr. Emoto provides evidence of the impact of our word and thoughts on the crystalline structure of water exposed to words or phrases, either written or spoken, such as "Love," "Gratitude," "Thank You" or "You're Beautiful," the water forms beautiful crystals. The same is the case if the water is exposed to the music of Beethoven, Mozart or Chopin.

Whereas, under the same conditions, if the water is exposed to the words "You Fool," "Hate," "War" or heavy-metal music, the crystals are malformed and fragmented.

Every molecule of water in our body knows every thought we think and every word we say and responds in kind. The same is true for every cell of our body that contains water. And, as far as I know, they all contain water.

If we sent forth kind and loving thoughts and words toward ourselves and others, our body's molecules and cells manifest that loving, healing energy.

Likewise, if we send forth fearful or angry thoughts or words toward ourselves and others, we pollute our body with toxic energy and create ill health.

Listen to your words and thoughts. Your health depends on it.