A TRIBUTE TO FOREMOTHERS

four gen greats

 

In her book “Dance of the Dissident Daughter”, Sue Monk Kidd writes about the importance of knowing ones “FOREMOTHERS” and how exploring our foremothers through writing could be instrumental in helping us know our true authentic selves.  For are they not a part of us and we a part of them?

So, in the spirit of my FOREMOTHERS, I offer this:

Here’s to my Maternal Great-Grandmother, Belle Zora Joy-Davis who lived most of her life on a Dairy Ranch in Yava, Arizona  and was the mother of 13 children.  I cannot imagine how hard her life must have been or what she taught her daughters about the big wide world at the turn of the Century.

To my Paternal Great-Grandmother, Emma Mae Craw-Matli, (Grandma Short) who boar 5 sons and a daughter and even though 4 ft 10 in, was renowned for her vigor around the Infamous Matli Ranch in Williamson Valley, just outside Prescott, Arizona.  She ruled with an iron fist for 5 decades and though she lost a daughter, Mary, at age 28, her sons did become “TRUE COWBOYS”  working a cattle ranch, riding bulls and broncs in the oldest Rodeo in the U.S. from the 1920’s to 80’s, when her last son died and the ranch and land was sold to developers.

To my Maternal Grandmother, Beulah Belle Davis-Matli, whom I never got to know, as she died on Christmas Day when I was 2, yet whose life story is nothing short of an inspiration as I have learned some 50 years later.  She was a victim of domestic violence, (from a man she was married to for a brief time, not my Grandpa)….she almost lost her life,  yet she overcame great adversity.

To my Paternal Grandmother, Ferne Dorothy Kapp-Jones, of whom I have fond memories.  She took me on adventures to pick wild raspberries in the Arizona  mountains, made the greatest apple plum cake and told me of her theory of “the Methuselah gene.”

And of course, to my Mother, Gay Yvonne Matli-Jones, who left me with her gift of grace on a snowy day almost 40 yrs to the day of her own Mother’s death…she said a GRAND GOODBYE to me in “Harry Houdini style” and still speaks to me in my dreams….

And I have to add three cousins to this tribute.  Strong women who are connected to me through blood and bone, love and spirit, and whom, if I never got to know, I would never have learned so much about my family story:

To MARY MATLI, daughter of my great uncle Charley and aunt Vonnie Matli.  Mary was instrumental in helping maintain a family legacy and keeping honor and dignity in the MATLI name, as best she could.  From birth, all she knew was the Matli family.  She lived and worked the ranch with her parents as she was an only child with no siblings, and most important as some would say, NO BROTHERS…..yet, she worked hard, endured much adversity and family turmoil and to this day, she is a pillar of strength, goodness, and pure heart.

To SHAMAYA RENMARK-FURMAN, my second cousin and grand-daughter of my maternal grand-mothers’ sister VIOLA….we connected on ANCESTRY.com and she provided me with family history from my maternal side (mom’s mom and all those 13 siblings)…..so rich was the history and it changed and transformed me in a positive way, making me feel I had learned more about myself than I could ever have known elsewhere.

And most recently, to MARCIE JONES-HOLTHUS…..my first cousin, daughter of my dad’s brother.  Boy did I learn a lot from her about my dad’s side and she even got me in touch with other family members.  She and I have written to each other, comparing notes about our lives, as I had not seen her since I was four years old….it was a bittersweet reunion that made me feel more intertwined into the tapestry of human beings that I am related to.  I feel grateful that I’ve found “my people” and know so much more about “who I am”……The cool thing is THESE COUSINS ARE STILL ALIVE and I can tune in, show up and connect with them if I so desire.

ON THIS DAY, I HONOR ALL OF MY FOREMOTHERS FROM GENERATIONS PAST AND PRESENT…..for as women, we DO NOT have just ONE MOTHER, we have MANY MOTHERS….young and old, weak and strong, vibrant lights and soft glowing embers……some in the shadows; some in the forefront.  And if we sit still, open our hearts and truly listen, we can hear them speak to us……We hear and feel them in the storytelling, in the ephemera of faded black and white photographs, in the remnants of relics long saved that remind us of long ago and make us feel connected….in hay lofts and dusty trails, in the songs of nature at the break of dawn, in the smell of a newborn calf, in the summer monsoons and all the chores that still need to be done…..we feel them.

TO ALL MOTHER’S…..here now and forever gone……I feel your strength, I feel your comfort, and most importantly, I feel your hearts…….m.e.

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~ A Soul In Balance ~

balance rocks

BREATHE (Physical)  It is the first thing you do upon your birth, your first infusion of human life outside the womb—the beginning of your earthly journey.  As you breathe in life, your physical body grows.  Breath is the most integral element of your physical being.  It can protect you, keep you healthy, aid in immunity, keep you centered and is the pathway to communion with God in prayer.  Nourish the body.  Learn to listen to its subtle rhythms when in distress.  It is a magnificent machine that knows how to heal itself when given the opportunity.  Moderation in all things, reverence for healthy behavior, exercise, nutrition, rest, play.  Your breath is your anchor of focus, the calm in a sea of chaos, the direction given at the crossroads.

THINK (Mental) Your mind is a tool.  The computer that operates your body and YOU are at the controls.  Exercise your mind.  Knowledge is vast, but is nothing without wisdom and understanding.  Expand your vocabulary and your self-awareness will also expand.  Words are necessary for effective communication and expression of ideas.  Your imagination is limited only by the lack of words to NAME and describe your reality.  Learn the laws of nature through mind—cause and affect, attraction and repulsion, reason and chaos.  Your mind provides you with the ability to learn and grow, make mistakes, explore the world, correct behavior, understand conflict and confrontation, harmony and resolution, troubleshooting, environment and ecosystems, culture and community.  Everything you create begins with a thought.  You are the creator of your own reality, so everything you are, you have created.  Therefore, be disciplined in your thoughts.  You can control the balance of positive and negative through practice and meditation.

LOVE (Emotional) Through thought and physical urges, we learn that we have a range of feelings as diverse as grains of sand.  Here lies sadness, joy, anger, gratitude, pride, humility, envy, compassion.  The spectrum is Neg = Fear; Pos = Love.  Navigating through life, we experience a multitude of feelings.  It is our job to find a balance.  The negative are necessary for learning and growth.  The positive are the gifts of the Holy Spirit reflecting our true self.  Your soul in balance.  When the negative hurts us, we are prone to want to avoid feeling those emotions, yet it is only through acknowledgment and expression that we can extinguish their power over us.  Emotions that go unattended will become toxic and eventually find their way to the surface.  FEEL-DEAL-HEAL.  Feelings are your connection to the soul.  Once you know love, you know your creator.  Communion with the Holy Spirit that resides within you is possible only along the pathway of your emotions.  Think of them as a rainbow of colors.  All distinct, yet necessary for experiencing life to the fullest and creating the grandest reality.

PRAY (Spiritual)  Your connection to that which created you.  Intuition, serendipity, synchronicity, your connection to ALL THAT IS, the eternal universe of abundance without limitation.  It is where you came from.  When you are still and silent, with clarity and focus, you can hear the Angels singing and the voice of God through your higher self.  NOURISH YOUR LOVE OF SELF.  A strong sense of self will guide you through life and reveal your true authenticity.  It is your salvation, your sanctuary, your life line.  Nourish it every day.  Cultivate it like a garden.  Clear the weeds so that your flowers blossom and your trees bear fruit.  Spread your spiritual wholeness to those around you.  Your relationships with others will be a reflection of who you perceive yourself to be.  The energy you emit will have a ripple effect with those around you.  The more love you give, the more the world is effected and the more it comes back to you.  After all, life is a circle.

BREATHE ~ THINK ~ LOVE ~ PRAY

Practice BALANCE every day.  Once you have Mastery of balance, you can achieve transformation.  This is the essence of the 5th element.  Here you are connected to the universe, “plugged in” and in constant flow.  This is a state of true knowing where all things are possible.  There is no contradiction, only pure love and light.

Practice with expectancy and gratitude.  Give thanks, ask for guidance, sit in the quiet stillness of the universe.  The knowledge of being connected to everything, where you are on purpose, you are a channel of God’s will.  Be open to receive the Holy Spirit and your path will be shown to you.  You can create a life of limitless possibilities.  This is where you paint the grandest landscape of your desires and dreams…    ~  Mick E.  ~

The Older I Get, The Less I Know…

floating feather

Oh, I believe the older I get, the less I know…

When I was 14, I thought I knew everything. There was nothing my parents or any elder could teach me about life.  I was invincible and never thought about death.

When I was 24, I’d learned some valuable lessons about “life and the pursuit of happiness” and being more for the wise, I was always pushing forward.  Still, the thought of death did not enter my mind.

When I was 34, I was too busy juggling parenthood, career, wifely duties and even sleep to care if I knew anything.  By then, death had come to my family and I made my way through it as best as I was able.

When I was 44, although more confident at work, I felt less confident in my looks and less connected to my children as I had been in the previous decade.  Once they leave home, you hope you taught them well about flying on their own.   By then, I was an orphan, so grief had forced me to contemplate my own mortality.

I had learned through my vocation and life experiences, that although living life to the fullest was admirable, accepting and honoring death was not only natural, but one of the most important of life’s lessons….

And now, a few stones throw into my 50’s, navigating through an ocean of what is superficial and what has true substance, I feel as if I’m in a house of mirrors.  Nothing is ever as it appears.  What you thought was good and safe all of a sudden becomes tainted (what’s the stellar opinion of eating eggs this year?); what you feared most turns out to be all illusion (that proverbial boogie man under the bed).  People you have trusted for years will betray you; people you never trusted before will rise to your honor.

I have forgotten great dishes I used to make, songs I used to sing and even great accomplishments I made a decade ago and gosh, where the heck did I leave my car keys and sunglasses????

I seem to not be able to grasp that I am a walking miracle…..that I have knocked on deaths’ door on more than one occasion recently and I am still here (I guess God’s not finished with me yet).

This next year I certainly hope to gain new strength and insight and continue to embrace this transition into the last 50 years of my life.  I think Forest Gump said it best when he said, “I don’t know if we each have a destiny or we’re all just floatin accidental-like on a breeze.  But I think, maybe its both…..maybe both are happening at the same time.”

Yes, the older I get, the less I know.  So, my goal for 2015 is to be a feather floating in the breeze…  Sometimes surrendering to the currents of the Universe is the wisest of decisions.              ~  Mick E.  ~

Life is a River…

Fork of the Little Colorado ~ White Mountains, AZ

Fork of the Little Colorado ~ White Mountains, AZ

All life is but a river…..sometimes trickling ever so softly, sometimes finding the fierce energy of whitewater, sometimes standing by the wayside in hidden eddies…….but always moving…….always moving towards home….

~ Mick E. ~

Farwell to Sally

tulips

I’m sure Sally will be remembered for the love and laughter she brought daily to her family and friends. She brought harmony to the melody of our lives, always thinking of others before her self.  Her generosity knew no bounds and she was a true example of piety and unconditional love. I have to smile when I am reminded of the day Lorraine and I went to get our drivers license. We were both so nervous. We went to Western Auto were Sally was working and she said “you girls use my car for your driving test.” When the driving instructor got there Lorraine was so nervous, she honked the horn while he was walking in front of the car and he jumped out of his skin. Sally just laughed and said “well, I guess you can write down that the horn works.” Today my heart is heavy, but I celebrate her return home and into the welcome and loving arms of our Lord….

~ Mick E. ~

True Gratitude

grateful heart

Over the years, True Gratitude to me has been about the simple things, felt with all the senses:

Standing behind a woman at the grocery store who moved at a snail’s pace, but who turned and gave you the dime you were short for your purchase

Smelling the beautiful flowers in a garden you walked by after your car broke down a half mile from home

Finding your grandmother’s recipe for apple plum cake and when you make it, the kitchen is filled with a smell that takes you back to your childhood where innocence and wonder reined

Overhearing your spouse show solidarity in reaffirming rules you set for your teenagers who wanted to push the limits

Sitting in the kitchen of your best friends’ parents, reminiscing at the same table you sat at 35 years before, laughing over silly things like sneaking ingredients in the chili or burning the pancakes

Rescuing your son’s family when the electricity goes out in a heavy snow storm and they have to spend Christmas at your house with your first grandchild who is just two weeks old (what a shame)

Finding that videotape made when the kids were young that you thought was long lost and actually finding a VHS player to play it on

Hearing your grandchildren laugh at something funny your son told them about his grandparents (is there such thing as generational gratitude?)

The older I get, the more I realize that humility and gratitude are the necessary ingredients of pure joy……and they are found daily in the simple things…

~  Mick E. ~