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Abiding Blog
Lucki Melander Wilder

Still digging the blogs. Keep up the good works.  -- Jim (a reader since the first-ever announcement)

These are personal ruminations on divers and sundry topics of interest to me and, I hope, also you. Some are long, some short. Some are silly, some serious. Some are trivial, some profound. Nor is it always easy to tell which is which, even for me. And all opinions expressed are subject to change without notice.

Email me to subscribe or give feedback, or if there's a topic you'd like me to ruminate about. Not all feedback necessarily appears in this page, and may be edited for links, typos, multi-source redundancy, and relevancy. That doesn't mean we consider negative feedback irrelevant or refuse to post it, as negative feedback can often help us learn to do more and better.

Go to   #grandMya     

R E D U C E !

"It cannot be right to manufacture billions of objects that are used for a matter of minutes,
and then are with us for centuries." – Roz Savage

This isn't the first time I've broached this topic. It probably won't be the last. Some things are worth repeating and expanding.

Maybe you remember back ten years ago when I wrote about how the recycling mantra isn't "Recycle Recycle Recycle", it's "Reduce Reuse Recycle". I then enhanced the mantra to read"Recycle everything you can. Reuse twice as much as you recycle. Reduce twice as much as you reuse."

[ASIDE[] Note that "reuse" encompasses both reusing something for its original purpose (like using recycled floorboards for new flooring) but also repurposing (like using an old door as the top of a handcrafted table).

I still stick by that. I try to do my part. I recycle as much as I can. I also reuse and especially repurpose a lot of stuff. And I reduce where I can. But it's discouraging. Why?

  = Because a lot of forms of paper, wood, glass, metal. and especially plastic aren't really considered recyclable. A lot of stuff we put into our recyclable bins end up in the landfills or incinerators anyway. Putting it in the recycle bin just kicks the can down the road to the waste management facility. Examples include glitter-infused wrapping paper, pesticide-treated wood, glass mirrors, print-laminated aluminum and, worst of all, all those plastic containers that have the wrong code stamped into them. Just 'cuz the three arrows and a number are there, it does NOT necessarily mean it's recyclable. Perhaps the worst culprits are #6-styrofoam (take-out boxes, packing peanuts, etc.) and plastic bags (drycleaning, grocery, sandwich, chip, etc.), too much of which can cause a whole big load or recyclables to be rejected & sent off to the landfill.

  = Because only about 10% of what does to into recycle stream actually gets recycled back to its original use, a good example being certain plastic soda bottles. And that doesn't even count all such items that could be recycled back to their original use if only everyone would recycle them in the first place. But no, too many folks are too lazy or harried to do so, meaning that new ones have to be manufactured from scratch.

  = Because reusing/repurposing also serves a worthwhile purpose, but when it comes to all of them, especially plastics, that again is just kicking the can down the road. When I reuse non-recyclable paper as a base under my kitty litter, it still eventually ends up in the landfill. If I completely seal boards of treated wood to build a bookshelf, it's still eventually gonna break and all that wood plus the pesticide plus the sealer ends up in the landfill. Etc.

Great Lakes as seen from spaceWooden pallet containing a bale of recycled plasic bottlesPlastic is the worst culprit, though. 'Cuz 99% of it doesn't degrade in centuries. It disintegrates into smaller and smaller pieces - microplastics - but never stops being plastic. And it ends up in our food chain and even treated drinking water. The Great Lakes is the largest freshwater system in the world. And every year, 22,000,000 pounds of plastic get dumped or washed into it. Twenty-two MILLION pounds a year! And it's only getting worse. 'Cuz minus a few paltry pounds left in space plus a small amount that's been incinerated into noxious gasses plus the 1% that are biodegradable (in a few years or even months), every molecule of plastic ever produced still exists somewhere on this planet. 12% of Great Lakes fish have microplastics in their bodies. (And our fish are better off than English Channel fish, well over a third of which have plastic. And birds eat those fish (seed eaters may also eat microplastics directly, thinking them seeds). Mammals eat those fish. WE eat those fish. YUM.

But here's the thing. My being driven to not use plastics I can't truly recycle is stymied by the fact that it's harder than hell to find things I need that aren't packaged in plastic. And I mean everything! Which means I can recycle. And I can reuse. And I can repurpose. But I have the devil's own time trying to reduce. I definitely can't reduce twice as much as I...well, you catch my drift.

What angers me is that the manufacturers who produce all this plastic and the buyers who buy all this plastic and the packagers who package with all this plastic are actually spending big bucks in advertising - no, I'm not going to move this article over to Adding Insult - spend mucho moolah trying to convince me that it's MY issue to fix. When it's really THEIR issue to fix. If they stopped producing and using the stuff for every damn thing, then my efforts might actually  make a dent in what's left. But NO-O-O. That wouldn't be cost effective (as if money is the only thing all that plastic is costing us). That wouldn't be profitable. That wouldn't be convenient.

I'd like to quote something sorta related that Number Two Son Mead wrote in Twigs of a Family Tree (bolding mine):

Can you imagine a world in which people are totally aware of the effects of their actions? A world in which people understand what is behind political policies and corporate schemes and societal hate-mongering? As I become more aware of the world around me, including other people and their motivations, I can make more informed decisions and effect far more change than I ever dreamed of. My favorite example is dolphin-safe tuna. Through a simple campaign of awareness, back when I was young, I and a lot of other people decided to stop purchasing canned tuna because we did not like the thought of accidentally killing dolphins. The result? The industry changed. It found better ways to catch tuna that allow the dolphins to escape unharmed.

Maybe that's what needs to happen with ubiquitous plastic where it's not vitally necessary. Stop buying. Start raising cain, at least (at first) about single-use plastics. Start writing to corporations, telling them the first one that resolves this issue for any given product is the one you'll start buying that product from. Start demanding they find better ways. Start even being willing to spend a few cents or minutes more to accommodate changes for the better.

ME doing that would be less than a drop in the bucket. YOU doing that would be less than a drop in the bucket. (That's why the epigram above targets manufacturing, not recycling.) But you and me, your family and my family, your friends and my friends, your neighbors and my neighbors, your coworkers and my coworkers, folks whom you persuade and whom I persuade...WE CAN MAKE THEM CHANGE. And that can change the world.

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Entries During

2021-05-09 Reduce!

2021-04-12 Helena C.
2021-04-01 Stunted

2021-03-12 Rheta P.
guest blogger: Rheta Posey
Declaration Stories

2021-03-05 Woof?
Cat Power

2021-02-14 Nancy B.
guest blogger: Nancy Bagley
Declaration Stories

2021-02-09 Nursery

2021-01-15 Harold W.
guest blogger: Harold Williams
Declaration Stories

2021-01-08 Cabbage
The Wilders


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H E L E N A   C.

"I was hungry."

Another month, another declaration story. This time from one of my spiritual children: Helena Carnes-Jeffries. The floor is yours, Helena.

I came to the Bahá'í Faith because I was hungry.

Helena Carnes and Malvin Jeffries in colorful COVID masksI wasn't hungry spiritually, or at least I didn't think I was. I had always believed in God, from when I was a toddler. When some Baptist Christians told me about God, I recognized there was indeed something there, although my perception of God was of course initially very simplistic. Eventually, though, I began to understand about God's abstract nature. I took my First Communion in a Catholic Christian church when I was 15. In my later teens and early adulthood, I also became interested in Pagan practices and then in the Hare Krishna movement. Still, the latter seemed somehow incomplete and the former seemed way too unstructured, with no boundaries, just anything goes.

But one day, I was physically hungry.

At the time, I was 23 years old and living in Rogers Park. I was going to a neighborhood soup kitchen to eat dinner each evening because my income was so small. My income each month was only $500. My rent for my tiny studio apartment was $415. If you did the math, you could easily see that I was always broke. I usually ate one hot meal a day and had bagels and bread to eat the rest of the time.

For a few months, I had happened to notice a series of flyers [sample] on poles around Rogers Park. In English and Spanish, they advertised a monthly "Open House/Open Mind" free dinner and discussion. Since the atmosphere of the soup kitchen was rowdy and sometimes wild, I thought it would be nice to eat somewhere else, in a quieter spiritual setting. So I took one of the tear-off tags at the bottom. But I lacked the courage to go by myself; I was plagued by bouts of shyness. I managed to convince a friend to come with me one month so that I wouldn't be in a roomful of strangers all by myself.

It was March 6, 1999. I came into the apartment with my friend, and they welcomed us. They were members of the Bahá'í Faith. We noticed a few people sitting on the couch looking at their watches. There was food on the table, which they offered us, but they themselves were not eating. One of the friends said that they were fasting and waiting for the sun to set so they could eat.

"Wow," I said to myself, "I can't be a part of this religion. I can't fast like that!" But everything else about the dinner and discussion intrigued me. The topic that night was "How To Soar Like an Eagle" about the equality of women and men, often referred to in Bahá'í Writings as the two wings of one bird.

I realized I was hungry for more. I needed some kind of direction in my life. I was a member of the twelve-step community; but I needed something further: a greater connection with the God of my understanding.

I also believed that a great change was upon us. I felt that the world as we currently knew it would not be the same. I had no idea that there was a new manifestation of God for this day, who spoke of a "Spiritual Springtime" and that humanity was on the cusp of something truly divine. We were at our adolescent stage, just now learning how peace was possible.

I never understood the faith of my childhood. How could some preachers preach that if you did not know who Jesus Christ was, you did not have the bounty of being accepted into Heaven. How could God reject those who still believed but in a different way? I just didn't get it. I always believed somewhere in my heart that every person carried a piece of the truth in their hearts, that all religions were different paths converging in the center, and they all led to an all-loving all-encompassing God.

Some of the Bahá'ís that were there that night took me under their wings, especially Lucki,, who became one of my spiritual mothers. I was invited to a unity dinner a couple of weeks later. After that, Lucki invited me to a major Holy Day at the Bahá'í Temple. It was Naw-Rúz, the Bahá'í and Persian New Year. I felt myself leaning heavily towards declaring my faith in Bahá'u'lláh, the prophet founder of the Bahá'í Faith. I went into the book store at the temple and almost purchased a piece of jewelry depicting the Ringstone symbol. Instead, I bought a prayer book and delved right in. Sitting in Foundation Hall waiting for the Naw-Rúz program to start, I read the Fire Tablet and was completely moved. "In the Name of God, the Most Ancient, the Most Great...."*

Some of the friends loaned me Bahá'í books, which I studied for the next five weeks. Upon reading the literature, I began to realize that The Báb (the herald of Bahá'u'lláh) and Bahá'u'lláh were just like Jesus Christ. Both had sacrificed so much to bring a precious message to humanity. I was especially moved by The Hidden Words, a small book of meditations written by Bahá'u'lláh. They laid down many of the important principles of the Bahá'í Faith in poetic ways.

Five weeks later on April 21, 1999, I declared my faith in and love for Baha'u'llah. It was the first day of Ridván, celebrating the day that Bahá'u'lláh declared his message to the world. I was at the temple with my friends Faith and Kate, so I told them first. When I told Lucki, too, she told me that it wasn't the end of the journey but the very beginning. I look back almost 22 years later and realize in my heart of hearts that she was absolutely right.

I look back at all the things I've been doing with the Bahá'í community - especially opportunities to use my talents as a singer, a writer, and an artist -  and I'm amazed:

Collage of Helena Carnes-Jeffries doing service as Feast recorder, poet, virtual choir member, &  devotional reader= Singing in the choir and at the annual choral fest in the House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinous, and even in the virtual choral fest held during the pandemic by the House of Worship in Sidney, Australia
= Reading the Sacred Writings at events like the commemoration of the Martyrdom of The Báb; and being asked to write and present an original poem at a Naw-Rúz celebration
= Marching in the Bud Billiken Parade, and doing children's Virtues Facepainting at the Picnic
= Taking part in Rogers Park's annual "Artists Of (and, during the pandemic, "Artists Off) The Wall"; and offering my art at special gatherings and fundraisers
= Joining in devotional gatherings and study circles; and attending the twice-monthly Prayer Breakfast, again both in person and virtually
= Serving as the recording secretary, for the Spiritual Assembly and our newsletter, at 19-Day Feasts
= Participating in the Community of Practice: Race in America
= Even going on Bahá'í Pilgrimage to Haifa, Israel in 2009

I came because I was physically hungry, and I found some real spiritual food.

P.S. In a strange coincidence, I also found a special love and family because, unbeknownst to me or Lucki, her twelve-step grandsponsor then (now her sponsor), who's also a Bahá'í, encouraged his friend and my husband-to-be, Malvin, to declare his love for me. I'm so glad that Malvin went to him for good advice and support...and got them. He'd also encouraged me to ask Lucki to be my sponsor, so now I have the bounty not just of a spiritual mother but also a sponsor (and a grandsponsor) who's Bahá'í, too.

Thank you for doing this, daughter dear. I well remember that Holy Day dinner celebration where I brought my food to an empty table and then you came with your plate and asked to sit with me...and the next thing I knew, I was sitting there breaking bread with FIVE of my spiritual children. Talk about an amazing, joyous celebration.

Khoda hafez,

*Baha'u'llah's Fire Tablet is a poetic revelation of a "conversation" between Baha'u'llah and God. Baha'u'llah describes the state of the world and His place in it and asks how God's presence is manifested therein. God responds with rhetorical questions about what is needed for mankind to pay heed and then offers encouragement.

Mon, Apr 17, 2021 at 11:17 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  I enjoy Helena's story. I like the way she wrote it. She is very talented with her writing and singing and painting. She gives a lot of service.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  I concur with you 100%. Helena has eclectic talens. Every year, I go to the Choral Fest she's in. I have a couple of items of her art front and center in my collection. And this year, she was again asked to write and present a piece at Chicago's Ridvan celebration. Talk about an all-around artist.

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"Spoiler Alert"  - Lucifer, Season 5, Episode 8 title

Take that epigram above seriously, dear reader. If you (a) didn't see the whole 75th episode of Lucifer yet, (b) plan/hope to, and (c) don't want any spoilers, don't read this article now. You can always come back later; I'll still be here.

Finally caught up with myself long enough to binge watch me some Lucifer. Season 5A. Glad I did.

As you know, I'm a sucker for exceptional stunt casting. Not the run-of-the-mill, big-whoop, who-cares kind. The OMG-brilliant give-whoever-thunk-that-one-up-a-raise kind. You know because you saw it happen here. You remember, when I noticed the stuntish casting of Arthur Darvill in the Legends of Tomorrow pilot, but really got hooked (it turned out) on the absolutely spot-on casting of the dynamic #Wentnic duo made famous in Prison Break years earlier. (For an alternate POV, here's what that trigger looked like to my #grandMya.)

Well, the stunt casting in ep 75 of Lucifer sure comes close. It's too priceless not to share a chortle over. Maybe even an exclam! Despite the fact that it lasts mere seconds.

(Just so you know, in case you don't: Amenadiel is heaven's eldest angel, portrayed by DB Woodside. Lucifer is the lord of hell, portrayed by Tom Ellis. Michael is Lucifer's heaven-homed but scarred twin brother, also portrayed by Tom Ellis. All three are sibling archangels. Mazikeen is the chief torturer among hell's demons, portrayed by Lesley-Ann Brandt.)

(from left) Michael, Luciver, & Amenadiel hear God's voiceSee, the ep crescendoes in this no-holds-barred battle royal raging at the police precinct between Amenadiel and Lucifer on the one side and Michael and Mazikeen on the other. And I mean, this fight is one for the books. Fists swing, blades fly, immortal bodies are thrown, time-frozen innocent bystanders are protected, havoc is wreaked. Makes wrestle-mania tag matches look like a Sunday picnic with lavender tea (pinkies extended, of course) and strawberry scones.

And it all comes to a grinding, breath-jarring halt when a strong voice calmly says "Children, you know I hate it when you fight." Michael, Lucifer, and Amenadiel (---> from left) slowly turn in stunned awe. We see God backlit. We can't see his face. But don't we know that voice? That calm, caring, trustable-in-times-of-trouble voice?

I expected a fade to black or some such there at the end of the ep. But no. The show didn't play that particular game. It played a more fun one.

The light shifts. We see the face of God...

...portrayed by Dennis Haysbert. Talk about spot-on stunt casting. This is not God Johnson (Timothy Omundson). Nor is it God as Narrator (Neil Gaiman). This is God God. God their Dad! Who else could so quickly and yet so mild-manneredly awe three raging archangels? And a demon?

And it's not merely because we do tend to feel calmed, cared for, trusting of that voice in all those handy insurance commercials. (Or at least the ad agency hopes so.) No, it's way more than that.

Remember Kiefer Sutherland's 24? I remember it well. And I've sometimes wondered if Dennis Haysbert's playing President David Palmer in that particular show a few years earlier had a bit of a beneficial effect on Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign/election. I also clearly remember DB Woodside's portrayal as Palmer's younger brother Wayne, who started off as his White House chief of staff and ended up becoming President himself.

Dennis Haysbert and DB Woodside. Senior and junior kinfolk. Again. If not a #Wentnic level dynamic duo, nevertheless a noteworthy piece of stunt casting to top off the mid-season finale. Hence this note. Looking forward to seeing how it all starts to play out (May 28) throughout Season 5B.

Khoda hafez,

Thu, Apr 1, 2021 at 2:37 PM, Melissa wrote:
  Can't wait to see this! Lol!
  Hope you are wonderful!
  Lucki responds to Melissa:
  I'm hangin' in there. Glad you're excited. You always get such fun out of things. Of course, I have no way of knowing which link(s) you're referring to. What's the this you can't wait to see?
  If you meant "can't wait to see Lucifer", I'm with you. Generally, though, that might be a good call-in question to ask your listeners [or at least Jim] one morning: "What TV show can't you wait to see the next season of?" Bet you'd get some interesting (and some weird) answers, and you'd tease out of them WHY they can't wait. You're wonderful at doing that, 'cuz you're always so upbeat about it.

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R H E T A   P.

"I recognized the difference."

Once again, we have new guest blog about finding faith. Mead wrote about this person's story in his Twigs of a Family Tree chapter. But she not only agreed to its use here, too, she also reset it as a first-person narrative, made a few changes and updates and, of course, provided some favorite photos. Introducing Rheta Posey.

Rheta & Richard PoseyOne of the true stalwarts of the Chicago Bahá'í community (and in other communities around the globe) was my late sister-in-law, Gwili Posey. When she became a Bahá'í as a young woman, her brother Richard (<<-- with me) decided to check out what his sister was newly involved in. He liked what he saw and eventually became a Bahá'í, too.

Although Christian, I often joined my family and other Bahá'ís in activities. One of the events I most enjoyed being part of and even offering service at for many years was the twice-monthly Prayer Breakfast at the Chicago Bahá'í Center on the near South Side. I felt that, as far as everyone else there was concerned, I was "family" too. That's how they treated me. And I learned a lot about the Bahá'í Faith in the process there (and elsewhere). They never pressured me about becoming Bahá'í, though. So I think they were very surprised when one day, out of the blue as far as they could tell, I declared my belief in what they believed in and asked to formally register as a member. It didn't change how welcome I felt being there, though, because I had always felt warmly welcomed. The only difference, really, was that now I would more often say we instead of you. "What do we do if we become ill during the Fast?" "How are we going to celebrate our upcoming Holy Day?" "I suggest we seniors reach out to the youth more."

A few months later, Richard and I were interviewed at the devotional breakfast by a journalist who asked how we became Bahá'ís. After Richard told his story from when he was younger, the journalist asked me if I had joined at the same time. He seemed quite surprised when I said, "No, not for years, only three months ago." So I told my declaration story, which even the other breakfast attendees hadn't heard or realized was important to me.

I told him about another seeker who had been invited to join in the breakfasts. This seeker turned out to be very abrasive and testy. She started arriving late and still expecting breakfast. The others welcomed her into the kitchen and invited her to prepare whatever she liked. When she read Bahá'í scriptural prayers, she pointedly feminized all the gendered nouns and pronouns. No one corrected her. She'd promise to come to the next breakfast and then not show up. The cooks never complained about cooking and possibly wasting too much food. When she didn't show up, attendees would express concern and be sure to include her in their prayers.

This went on for months. When she finally manufactured a reason to feel insulted and stop coming altogether, the attendees consulted on how to try to reach out to her again. Most of them volunteered to call her at least once or twice. They finally had to give up, though, and turn her over to the care of God

Rheta Posey head shotBut I had to admit I was most impressed by what happened—and didn't happen—when the seeker wasn't there. There was no complaining, no backbiting, no wishing she'd stop coming. Instead, they expressed concern, prayed for her, repeatedly tried to reach out to her. I saw loving attention detached from any insistence that the lady reciprocate by joining the Faith. I compared it to the behind-your-back behavior I too often see in the world, and I recognized the difference. That was the exclamation point in making my decision to become Bahá'í.

I'm very happy I became a Bahá'í; AND I still attend the Prayer Breakfasts, although we're on Zoom now. I stay involved in other areas, too, like Holy Day celebrations, studying the Writings, consultation at Feasts, and so on. Although my husband and sister-in-law have both transitioned to the Kingdom, when I'm with my fellow Bahá'ís I'm still with family.

Thank you for your work on this, Rheta.

Khoda hafez,

Thu, Apr 1, 2021 at 4:44 PM, Kim wrote:
  Especially enjoy the "how I became a Baha'i stories" and hope they sit well with your wider-community readership. And of the "how I became a Baha'i stories"' the one snippet that, Man oh Man, brings me to account is the story of the difficult attendee who ended up ghosting everybody and the detached response of the Baha'is throughout that. That could have gone so different in a different community. What a blessing that those Baha'is were living the life well ... (such a subtle test! ... maybe having a seeker present inspired them to their best behavior?
  Lucki responds to Kim:
   Hi, Kim. Glad you're enjoying the declaration stories. And yeah, I also include another Abiding Blog article every month for people (whether Baha'i or not) to still enjoy if declaration stories aren't their thing. And ya know, I didn't even think of what Rheta saw as being a test, subtle or otherwise. Thanx for that insight.
  When you say "having a seeker present behavior", I'm not sure whom you're referring to. If you mean the "difficult attendee", well, people acted the same way whether she was there or not. If you mean Rheta, I don't think we ever really thought of her as a seeker. She was family; so we weren't on any best behavior, we were just comfortable.

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W O O F ?

Cat 1: Meow.
Cat 2: Woof!
Cat 1: Woof? Whadda ya mean "Woof"?
Cat 2: I'm learning a foreign language.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Xenoglossia is the ability to speak a language without having learned it.
This sounds like a really neat trick if you can manage it."  - World Wide Words

It's been over a year since we've discussed the psychic powers of cats. That just won't do. So without further ado, let me offer you...

Data point 7: Xenoglossia
Let's clarify terminology, because cats seem not so much creatures of faith as of absolute certainty (that they are the center of the universe). After noting that xenoglossia"is regarded as a psychic phenomenon", World Wide Words goes on to inform us that "It sounds as if it's related to speaking in tongues, which is found in many religions and has been recorded from the earliest historical times; [but] the formal term for that is glossolalia." It stresses, though that "from a language point of view the difference is profound." And it clearly describes that difference.  Glossolalia, it tells us "is a succession of meaningless syllables interpretable only through faith." In xenoglossia, however, "the implication is that a real language is being spoken that is intelligible to native speakers and in which the person can converse."

So let me start with Seraphin, whom you met as he teleported in my friend's living room. His ability to also speak English loudly and clearly once got me in trouble with my neighbors. BIG trouble.

I was living in a building where there were six apartments connected to the front stairwell, mine being on the raised 1st floor, west side. One day, I needed to take Seraphin to the vet. So I did what I usually did when I wanted to take him outside. I slipped him into his figure-8 harness, picked him up, and off we went.

Seraphin didn't protest. He must've known that if he started making a fuss in the apartment, I'd ignore him. No, he very intelligently waited for the moment when his shocking protest would do the most good. When we were in the stairwell. And his voice would echo to kingdom come.

"No!" he then cried at the top of his lungs. "NO-o-o-o!! NOOO!"

Next thing I knew, most of the other apartment doors had been flung open and people were on the landings trying to ascertain if a child was being abducted or abused in the hallway. "Just my cat," I assured them. But there were nevertheless some suspicious mumbles (and several laughs) as they returned to their homes.

Still, Seraphin had learned that his special English word did get quite a reaction. So he continued to use it every time I started to take him somewhere he didn't want to go. (And come to think of it, how did he know we were headed for the vet instead of, say, merely going out for a walk? Have we just proved another feline psychic ability? Mental telepathy? Or was it more mine than his? Inquiring minds want to know!)

Nancy's cat Max perched on a card tableApparently, Seraphin isn't the only feline master of a bit of xenoglossia. My friend Far Southside Nancy (I know too many Nancys), who shared a guest entry with us last month, recently told me something about her cat Max ---->, roommate of feline Hansel and canine Lucy that you saw last year. It seems Max also has a special English word and knows when and how to use it. Not the same word as Seraphin, though. During summer, Nancy sometimes leaves her back door open so her cats can go out to the locked porch, survey their backyardly domain, and have converse with any other cats wandering by.

Sometimes, when she doesn't leave the back door open, the cats still want to go out there. Hansel just nudges the door, trying to get it to open. Max, however, goes farther. He knows that if you can unlatch the lock and then turn the doorknob, the door will open. He tries; he really does. He stretches up and gets his paws into position. He's even strong enough to get the knob to turn sometimes. But he can't undo the lock. At which point, he voices a sharp demand. "OUT!" He's very clear about it. He's not saying "me-owt" or "ow"; he's saying "Out! OUT!" And he's learned that it gets his person's attention every time. So now he also uses it when he wants to go out the front door. Or when he's in the window and sees another cat. Or even when he's hanging out on the kitchen card table and he wants his person to get her head out of whatever she's doing and get into playing with him.

I'm not finished, though. 'Cuz anything worth proving about cats is worth overproving. And 'cuz I thought that maybe every cat had one special word they knew in English. I didn't realize that some of them might know more than one word and can hold a whole conversation.

Angel asleep in her office cot while this artcle is being writtenWhich leads us to Mya's Angel), whom you first saw hanging out with my Silver. (<---- She's here sleeping beside me as I'm writing this article.) I'll share only a trio of examples, but they're not the only ones I've heard from her (Angel, not Mya).

One day I was sitting reading a book. Angel came into the room and jumped onto a soft surface an arm's length from me at eye level. I didn't pay any attention, as I was very absorbed in what I was reading. That was OK with her. She just wanted to share space with me. Space she simply stared into. Cogitating on catly concepts. Or maybe meditating. Practicing inward and outward stillness. After 10 or 15 minutes, I looked up and focused on her. She saw the movement and looked at me. "Hi," I said. And she replied "Hi." (Honest. She did. Where is my digital recorder when I need it? And my TARDIS?)

Lest you think that was merely echolalia, her repeating what I said, consider this. Another time, I heard a thump as I turned through the hallway door into the living room. "What made that noise?" I wondered aloud. "Me," she admitted, apparently having just jumped down from her cat condo.

A third time, she did something that I thought was pretty cool. I complimented her: "Who's a good girl?" And she clearly responded. Not with a word, but with a sentence: "I am."

To the best of my knowledge, cats aren't sneaking off to the Sorbonne or running Rosetta Stone behind our backs. But don't tell me they can't speak our very foreign language when they want to.

Khoda hafez,
P.S. To make sure I had Max's info correct, I asked Nancy to preview this article last night. She said I had Max down to a tee, but she had some more-recent episodes to add. This past February, when the snow was deep, Max went to the front door one day and begged "Out!" Nancy looked up from her computer and replied, "Max, you can't go out. No. There's too much snow!" And Max queried, with the proper rising inflection, "No-o-O?" Of course it's possible, Nancy opined, that Max was simply echoing her NO sounds. But maybe he actually learned about NO from Seraphin's story, again via mental telepathy. Either way, it wasn't quite so impressive. But this month, he morphed that syllable into something new. When he could see out the window that the snow was gone, he returned to the front door and demanded, "Out. Out NOW!"

P.P.S. Well, not to be outdone (I swear Nancy's cats and mine are using mental telepathy to teach each other stuff and issue challenges), Angel came up with a new one yesterday. While I was houseworking, she pulled something a bit unwonted. And unwanted. I protested, "Hey, cat, stop; that was weird." Looking at me suspiciously, she asked, "What?" I started to tell her, "You need to..." but got distracted and, looking away, hesitated for several seconds. With a petulant glare and tone, she called me back to the important business: HER. "What?!" she demanded again.

Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 9:56 AM, Greg wrote:
  I enjoy your psychic cat stories. My cat Cordie says a special word, too, lots of times, "Wow!"
  Lucki responds to Greg:
  So apparently Cordie is into learning new things, and is blown away by the neverending wonders of the universe. It just goes to show that while unsatisfied curiosity may indeed kill the cat, satisfaction/answers definitely revives it again. (I purely hate how people chop off the back end of that saying just so they can use it to discourage curiosity, instead of encouraging it like the saying was originally meant to do.)

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N A N C Y   B.

"I was home."

Another declaration story. Another guest blogger, this time via interview. 'Nuff said. Without further ado, let me introduce Nancy Bagley. Tell us your story, Nancy.

As a young child, though my family didn't really go to church, I did. I remember getting baptized at the Baptist church when I was nine, old enough to convince them that I knew what I wanted and why. As I was growing up, my family moved a lot; and during those times, I went to many different Protestant churches. At 17, I met the love of my life. He was Lutheran, born and raised in the Lutheran church. And so, because I had no particular denomination and believed we were all worshipping the same God, it was very easy for me to start going to his church with him. We got married in the Lutheran church.

But you know, during the years, I just didn't understand why they had so many man-made laws. I didn't understand why if you (or even a baby) weren't baptized, you would go to hell because you died "unsaved". Or why if a person was going to a synagogue or a mosque, or even a different kind of Christian church, then they were considered a heathen even though they also believed in the one God.

As I continued in my life, I stayed Lutheran as I wanted to keep our family together; but I didn't agree with several things the Lutherans were committed to. After many years, though, I had a tragedy happen that led to divorce. Still, that gave me the opportunity to search for something that I could completely believe in.

I was in Virginia Beach, VA when I just realized that I didn't have to remain in the Lutheran church or even in any Christian church. Even though I truly loved Jesus, I needed to search for something more I could truly believe in. They had the Edgar Cayce Foundation there, and I decided to go investigate it. I was very much into dreams at that time, and what they bring to us from God, so I went to some of their lectures on dreams and started reading some books. But when I got into depth with it, I realized it wasn't what I wanted. So then I tried the New Age movement that was getting popular at that time. I loved the idea that we were all connected in a circle of life. But I still believed in Christ, and I realized I needed to find something where the people believed in Christ and that we all came from the one God and are all connected.

Nancy Bagley with her spiritual mother Jean GhofraniI had been going to college to get my social work degree; and just before graduation I had a family class. They wanted each of us to do a paper on married couples who had two different backgrounds. Now, while doing my field placement for social work, I worked in a nursing home. There was a very wonderful social worker there named Jean (<<-- left, with me). We were instant friends, so it's no wonder she became a spiritual mother to me. She had just gotten married soon after we met. She and her husband were Bahá'í and had a Bahá'í wedding. Unfortunately, when she invited me and told me about the ceremony, it sounded very strange; so I decided not to go (which I deeply regret to this day).

Jean and Mehran Ghofrani being my close friends (even, still, to this day). I asked them to let me interview them for my class paper, because she's Brazilian and he's Iranian. And I thought their having this Bahá'í Faith in common would make for a wonderful paper. When I interviewed them, they gave me plenty of Bahá'í pamphlets to use, but at the time I was just interested in the paper, not in their Faith itself.

Still, after I'd looked at all the Edgar Cayce and New Age stuff and decided they both were not for me, in about six months I started to read the Bahá'í literature again. After all, I had it there conveniently; and I spent a lot of time with Jean and Mehran, including going to Bahá'í picnics and celebrations with them. I asked Jean if they were still having those firesides she'd been talking about before, and she said yes. I sought her assurance that "They won't put me in the center of attention, would they? I just want to be there and listen." She said that, no, they won't do that.

But she was wrong. When I got to the first fireside, I was the only seeker there. So of course they paid me a lot of attention. After all, firesides are places where people who don't know a lot about the Bahá'í Faith can learn in a homey atmosphere. Somehow, they made me feel very comfortable, so it wasn't so bad.

After that meeting, I starting reading a lot of Bahá'í Scriptures and a few explanatory books like Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era. I continued to go to firesides. I loved the principles; to my way of thinking, they felt right. But my main problem was that I needed to feel convinced Bahá'u'lláh could be the return of Christ, because Christ told us He would come to us again. So one of the members asked me if I'd like to read Thief in the Night: The Case of the Missing Millennium by William Sears. I did. The book had a lot of references to the Holy Bible; and as I read it, I looked up every biblical reference in my Bible itself. By halfway through the book, I stopped looking the references up because every one so far had been accurate. And in my mind I said that, yes, I can believe Bahá'u'lláh is the promised return of Christ.

I went with Jean and Mehran to a going-away party for a couple who were moving to Chicago, Art and Chris Stanwood. As I was talking to Hal Theriault there, I said "I think I do believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the return of Christ." Hal asked, "Do you want to become a Bahá'í?" I responded, "I think i just want to wait and think about it a little more." He told me, "You know, Nancy, if you believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the return of Christ, then there's nothing else you have to wait for because that's the most important thing to you." Right that second I said, "You know, YES, I think you're right. I want to be a Bahá'í." Being my first and closest teacher, Jean brought me a declaration card so my Bahá'í community would know I had declared I was a Bahá'í, and would have the information to reach out to me.

But there was one more little test. They brought me a pen. It didn't work. I thought: Hmmmm. They brought me another pen. It didn't work. I wondered if I was making a mistake. But they didn't give up and neither did I. They brought me a third pen, it worked, and I signed the card on July 27, 1990. I wasn't just a Bahá'í; I was a Bahá'í who belonged to a community of 75 Bahá'ís, and to the worldwide Bahá'í community. And they gave me a prayer book with the signatures of everyone in the room, which I still have.Nancy Bagley volunteering at a Baha'i celebration

(Interestingly, when I was moving to Chicago in 1993 to work at the Bahá'í Home for the elderly (where I served as Assistant Administrator, Social Worker, and Activity Director), Art and Chris were also the people who learned their downstairs neighbor had just moved out of his apartment, and asked their landlord to hold it for me, which he did, That was one demonstration that not just my own local Bahá'í community but the whole world community, wherever they were and wherever I went, had my back.)

From that day, I deepened in all the books I could get my hands on, and got very involved in the Bahá'í community, including being elected to the Spiritual Assembly of Virginia Beach six months later. Jean jokingly warned me not to do too much; "Moderation in all things!" she reminded me. But I was so enthusiastic. (It's been 30 years, and I still am. I love volunteering. -->>) I'd found my place. I was home.

Beautiful. Thank you, Nancy.

Khoda hafez,

Mon, Mar 15, 2021 at 9:17 PM, Marianne wrote:
  Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your search for something you could completely believe in, and how your first, hesitant steps into the Baha'i Faith turned into strides of service. Wonderful!
-Marianne S. Geula
  Nancy responds to Marianne:
  Thank you, Marianne. I feel that this is my destiny, this is where I'm supposed to be; and it's wonderful that you can see that, too.

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"As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the mind, soul, heart, and body
of our patients, their families, and ourselves. They may forget your name,
but they will never forget how you made them feel."  - Maya Angelou
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important
as a major operation by a surgeon."  - Dag Hammarskjöld

I started to feature and make light of this in Adding Insult, but (a) it's a print ad, not a TV commercial, and (b) it's anything but light ... in both senses of the word. It's trying to be lighthearted, but the end result for too many readers will (and/or should) mean nursing at least a twinge of pain. And it's trying to shine a light on important people, but it's so oblivious to both reality and perception that it does anything but enlighten.

The "cute" product being advertised is a series of collectible mini-dolls honoring nurses. That seems appropriate, in a way, given the amazing service being rendered by nurses and other frontline medical workers during the pandemic. And by "medical workers" I also mean everyone from nurse practitioners to nursing aides to phlebotomists to orderlies to housekeeping staff ... every single unsung frontline person risking so much to serve us in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, ambos, etc. It even seems appropriate that they're humorous dolls, because heaven knows we need to find ways to chuckle in the midst of turmoil.

And so, one company is offering a line of dolls entitled "Nurses: Frontline Heroes". Cool. Its print ad clearly shows us the first doll in the series: "I'm a Nurse! What's Your Superpower?" Complete with scrubs, super-stance, S-shield, cape, and cap."Superpower" Nurse dollBack of "Superpower" Nurse doll

OK, sorta fun. I'm not into collectibles like that, though. Besides which, although the company says it "supports" the American Nurses Foundation, nowhere does the ad promise that any of the money I'd spend on these dolls is actually going to the Foundation. So never mind.

But that wasn't the part that earned this advert a pan at all, never mind in Abiding Blog rather than Adding Insult. No, what really bugged me was seeing what was added to encourage folks who have money to burn on this kind of thing, which also isn't me, to collect the whole series.

It showed me the company's upcoming series of 4. "I'm a Nurse! What's Your Superpower?" and three coworkers. Starting with "Spread Kindness, Not Germs". Which doll is the only one offering even a nod to the pandemic and the need for frontline medical people to wear uncomfortable PPE at all times.

Speaking of which. I want you to think back to all the newscasts, and even scripted shows, you've seen this past year where frontline medical workers are interviewed, or followed on the job, or shown walking out of their workplace to the cheers of friends and strangers who appreciate their to-often-dismissed service. Because one thing you'll probably notice is that when you compare the percentages in, say, the nursing and housekeeping staffs to the doctors and execs, the former comprise way more minorities than the latter do. Which is one - just ONE - of the factors that makes this pandemic more pernicious and fatal in minority communities.

Do you see that reflected in the pictured series? 'Cuz I don't!Collection of 4 nurse dolls...all female, all white
All white. And all female.

"Oh, what's the harm?" someone is sure to say. The harm is the obliviousness. The harm is the skewed portrait of reality. The harm is the default assumptions this ad is endorsing. The harm to me and mine is every little boy and every little Black girl who, soon after leaving or possibly while still in the nursery, would dream of frontline medical service if only they could see themselves there. If only society fed them images of their potential inclusion with their mother's milk

Here would be one great opportunity to do so. To let children see that inclusiveness. Kids whose parents or grands or other adults in their environment might buy these dolls. Even more so, kids whose parents, etc., don't have that money to burn but might buy the periodicals these ads run in. Maybe even kids whose school teachers or faith-community teachers or babysitters or whatever might cut out these pix to use in projects with the kids.

But no-o-o-o.

Maybe this bias is out of sheer tunnel vision. Wearing blinders. (Lord knows I've come a cropper of that myself sometimes.) OTOH, maybe it's out of baldfaced intention. Because the company or its ad agency assumes only wealthy white people buy this stuff and it doesn't want to do anything to even marginally offend that audience. So it panders to their privileged perceptions. Which sure cuts out me and my dreadlocks even if I were a nurse. Ignores my Number One Son's EMT service. Tries to tell my aspiring
#grandMya she actually has no place in the front lines of any health field. (Luckily, she's tellin' 'em were they can stick that idea!)

'Scuse me, but that ain't right. Good job dissing every minority in sight. Including many dedicated male nurses ... none of whom wear caps. Waydago there, collectible company. Count this black Mom/Grams out even if I did have the disposable dough to waste on your little dolls.

Khoda hafez,

Sun, Mar 14, 2021 at 11:08 PM, Nancy B wrote:
  You were right. When I scrolled up through this article to start reading at the top, I saw the picture of the nurses for a second, but didn't read the words. I thought "Oh, that's really nice, all those nurses." It didn't even occur to me that they were all white and all women, and it should have. Thank you for bringing these things up and making people think about them.
  Lucki responds to Nancy B:
  You're quite welcome. I can't tell you how many times I've tripped over the same issue. Not seeing what I'm not seeing. When I notice, I can write about it. When I don't notice, when I'm oblivious to the obvious, when I'm conned into default thinking, when I don't notice I'm drinking the kool-aid, then obviously I can't write about it. I'm sure that happens all too often. It's freakin' insidious.
Thu, Apr 1, 2021 at 4:44 PM, Kim wrote:
  Quite enjoyed the April showers of gifts from March ... And of your other postings that I read, the one that hit home were those stinking nurse dolls. Sheesh! Such a sweet and timely idea. Such a lost opportunity
Kim, RN
  Lucki responds to Kim:
  Nurse dolls, yes. Forgot you were an RN, so it's no wonder that resonated with you. And you put it so well. Timely idea/lost opportunity is spot on!

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H A R O L D   W.

"Hallelujah praise the Lord!"

I've often mentioned the Baha'i Faith, and/or some of its principles, in various blog entries. So you sort of know what it means to me. But you deserve to hear from others, too. To read, if nothing else, what brought some others to declare that they, too, are Baha'i. Of course, you can read my declaration story in Twigs of a Family Tree. Also Mead's, Rezvanieh's and Theresa's. But not everyone can get the book (here) right now. So I'm askinig some friends to share their stories. So without further ado, let me (gratefully) introduce Harold Williams.Harold Williams in business attire

Before last August, I'd never told on any social media my story of how I became a believer in the Baha'i faith. Then I posted it on Facebook for friends. And now is the first time I am ever presenting it in a totally public blog. It was a lifelong journey, but in the interest of holding your interest, I will abbreviate as much as possible.

I was born in 1948. That is 85 years after the emancipation of my enslaved African ancestors. I am almost certain that my great grandparents were born as enslaved people and that my grandparents were born soon afterwards. That is not so long ago. I am eternally grateful to my ancestors for all that they endured so that I may be here today. What they endured is also a testament to the power of God. Today, their descendants have been described as "the pupil of the eye" by God's Manifestation (or Voice) for this day: Bahá'u'lláh. 

His eldest son Άbdu'l-Bahá once said, a century or more ago, "Bahá'u'lláh once compared the coloured* people to the black pupil of the eye surrounded by the white. In this black pupil you see the reflection of that which is before it, and through it the light of the Spirit shines forth.".

The quote below is taken from the scriptural book The Hidden Words revealed by Bahá'u'lláh. It sums up what I felt and believed most of my life.

O Children of Men!  Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.

So, what happened? How did I find out about this new faith?

My exposure to God and religion happened as a child whose parents took him to church every Sunday. I grew up in the Church of God in Christ (a Christian faith, Protestant branch, Pentecostal denomination), in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. My Sunday school teacher would give us an assignment to find a certain scripture in the Bible for the following Sunday. As an incentive, he would give the one who found it 25¢. I earned a lot of quarters, and the ability to read the Bible for myself. At age 13, I was relocated to my birth town in Mississippi (a story within itself). During my one-year stay there, I was exposed to the southern Baptist style of worship. I returned to Chicago but no longer attended church. It wasn't any disbelief in God. It was simply because I was no longer made to go to church by anyone.
I graduated from high school in '66. The military draft was in full force due to the war in Vietnam. I was classified as 1A, which meant that I was draftable. I decided that, maybe, I should get baptized. So, I went to my old church, confessed my belief in Christ and got baptized. But something happened during the baptism that caused me to question and think more deeply about God, religion, people, and myself.

You see, there were two other young men being baptized that day. I was third in line. The pastor baptized us all in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The first person was submerged into the pool of water and, when he was raised up, he began to shout, "Hallelujah praise the Lord!". The second person was submerged and, when lifted out of the water, said the same thing. Now it was my turn. The pastor leaned me back into the water and baptized me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When he lifted me out, I did not feel the Spirit run through me. I did not start shouting, or even thinking, "Hallelujah praise the Lord!" I just felt wet. I was perplexed, dazed, and confused. Had I done something wrong in God's eyes such that I did not deserve this baptism? I did not stop believing God, but I had some questions.

Soon after, I joined the United States Air Force at age 18. I travelled to several foreign countries during my service, and for the first time met people from different lands. I noticed that people were not that different from one another. We all worshipped a superior being in our own way. We all wanted the same things for our families, such as the ability to live in peace, to be able to provide food, clothing, and shelter for our loved ones. Even in Vietnam, the civilians that I met also wanted those things. I began to look at wars caused by people proclaiming that their religion is the right religion and everyone else is going to hell. Did not God create all of us?

When I turned 30, I started to seriously look for answers. After watching historical clips of Martin Luther King Jr. being stoned for attempting to go into an all-white church in Marquette Park in 1967, I felt really upset. Here was a man of God trying to go to a church to worship, and being stoned because of the color of his skin. Something was terribly wrong with that. I started investigating different religious groups in an attempt to find some answers, but to no avail. I was really beginning to be concerned that nearly 2,000 years had passed, and God had not spoken to us again. I felt that He had abandoned His creation and just left us all alone, and we were doing great harm to ourselves, even killing each other. I started telling someone about my investigation, my search for answers, and they mentioned the Bahá'í faith and the temple in Wilmette, Illinois. I was still eager to find answers, so I went up there to see for myself what this Bahá'í faith was all about.Harold Williams in casual attire

I sat in the temple's Foundation Hall and watched a film about the central figures of this faith and its beliefs. At the end of the film, a sense of peace come over me. I left that central room and began looking at displays hanging on the walls. There was one that illustrated progressive revelation, the revealing of divine truths to humankind over time as we progressed enough to need and to understand them. It showed that Voices of God like (but not limited to) Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá'u'lláh are one in spirit and reality. It showed that each Prophet fulfilled the promise of the One who came before; and likewise, each announced the One who would follow. This was the answer to my question about God leaving us to ourselves for nearly 2,000 years. God had never left us alone! We just failed to see the bigger picture.

This was my long-awaited moment to shout, "Hallelujah praise the Lord!"

That very day (August 25, 1978), I joined the Bahá'í Faith by declaring my belief to my "spiritual father" Kurt Hein, and I am still amazed by it after 42 years. If you have questions or comments, email me here. I will even gladly set up a time to talk with you if you wish.

* Referring specifically to black people, not to people of color in general.

And that is, really, all it takes. For anyone. For Harold. For you, if you're interested. When you're ready, you simply tell another Baha'i that you are Baha'i. You don't need to have undertaken any formal study. You don't need to know all the Scriptures (as if anyone could). You don't need to pledge any tithe. You don't need to undergo any ritual. You don't have to immediately practice - or even be aware of - all the principles and Baha'i laws. You just have to be willing to learn. At your own speed. And to try to live up to your faith. To the best of your ability with what you have at the time. And it's your option, then, whether you wish to also be "registered" in the worldwide Baha'i community. Which you can accomplish (in the U.S.; other countires may have other methods) simply by filling out a registration card to be forwarded to the Local Spiritual Assembly of your municipality or, if there isn't one, to the National Baha'i Center so they know how to reach you and can put you in touch with nearby Baha'is.

Thank you, Harold.

Khoda hafez,

Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 10:20 AM, Nancy B. wrote:
   This was good, Harold. It was very good. I like the way you told your story.


Harold responds to Nancy:
   There's a lot more of it, but I didn't want it to get too long.



Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 10:24 AM, Nancy B. wrote:
   Yeah, ya could go on forever. But I thought you did very well.

Mon, Feb 2, 2021 at 2:20 PM, Barbara wrote:
Dear Lucki,
   I love the article by dear Harold. I just learned he and I graduated from high school the same year—but he found the Faith so much sooner than I did! Good for him!
   I can think of a couple people I'm going to share this with. Thanks Lucki!
Loving greetings,


Lucki responds to Barbara:
  Glad you enjoyed it. I have a couple more guests blogs in the works. Stay tuned.
  BTW, speaking of high school "encounters", would you believe that one of those guest bloggers and I recently found out we had attended the same distant high school at the same distant time.



Tue, Feb 2, 2021 at 2:24 PM, Barbara wrote:
  It must have been a big school or you were in different grades - or you might have known each other. A fullblown red rose

      Lucki responds to Barbara:
  You'll find out when it gets published. Of course, any or all of your scenarios could've been in play.
Sun, Febuary 28, 2021 at 7:33 PM, Marianne. wrote:
  Ah, yes- the guest blog featuring Harold W! That was wonderful! Thank you for featuring his story of finding the Faith!


Lucki responds to Marianne:
  Ah, glad you saw that, but Harold was last month. This month was Nancy. Gotta keep up, girlfriend. LOL
    Mon, March 1, 2021 at 8:13 AM, Marianne. wrote:
  Another day, another chance.....

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"Green is the prime color of the world,
and that from which its loveliness arises."  - Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Back near the end of December, I was phone-chatting with my #grandMya and I happened to mention the new plant growing in my office window. It's something I do almost every year, 'cuz in the drab of winter the eye  - the soul - craves living green. At her query, I explained to her what I had just started, how I was doing it, and the results so far.

Cabbage scrap in late December 2020Cabbage scrap in early January 2021Her response? "I'd love to see that."

So I promised to send her a pic. Which I did. Two pics, actually. Taken a week apart: <=== December 28 and January 4.===>

Her response? "Ooh so cute!"

Behind that, I sent her a detailed email. 'Cuz she likes cute. So I thought she might even be interested in doing her own plant. And I'm sharing it here 'cuz you, too, might be craving a touch of fresh, new green. And this kind of "gardening" is as simple as mud. You don't need a green thumb. You don't even need dirt. All you need is what's left over when you finish eating a cabbage, a recycled container, and water. The email said:

Thanx. Home-y hydroponics in action. All 3 disks came from 1 cabbage stalk. I have another head of cabbage I'm eating; so when that's done, I may plant a 2nd container full. Especially during winter, the eye craves bright, living  green.

Do you have a sunny-ish window in your dorm room? You could do the same thing. Any [recycled glass or plastic] container will do.

Put the inch-thick disks in & then add enough water to come 1/3 to 1/2 way up the disks. Add more water every few days as needed. I put paper towels behind the container as insulation from the cold window frame. I put them on the sill in the daytime, & back on my PC credenza, right under the heat vent, at night. (Of course, if you have a piece of furniture against the wall & the sun will come directly in, you don't need to keep it on the window sill at all, which means you don't have to move it away at night.)

Depending on conditions, especially sunniness v. cloudiness, the core disks may even start to grow rootlets. Which means you might be able to plant them outside in the spring. Or you might decide, as I've been known to do, to eat the leaves. Sooner is better than later, though, to keep them from growing bitter.

Regrowing from veggie scraps like this in nothing but water also works for lettuce and bok choi cores, celery bases, carrot tops, scallion bottoms, and bean and garlic-clove sprouts. Try it for free food. (In other words, it might save you some "cabbage".) Or just try it for free fun. Especially try it with any home-bored, wall-climbing kids in your vicinity.

If you let the resulting plants grow for long enough, and they get hot enough, they may even "bolt" and grow flowers. (I don't keep my home warm enough in winter for that to happen, but it has happened in summer sun.)

This is such an easy way to put a bright, green spin on winter. To uplift your spirits with warm hope. For as Percy Bysshe Shelley exulted, "O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?"

Khoda hafez,

Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 7:01 PM, Mya wrote:
   Super cute blog post. I wonder if anyone will actually start doing the cabbages! If they do, I hope they share that with you.


Lucki responds to Mya:
   Well, for starters, do you think you might? Ya know, if you have some growing in your door room, you can always give them as a mental health gift to anyone on campus who you see is feeling depressed or suffering from S.A.D.



Fri, Jan 9, 2021 at 10:37 AM, Mya wrote:
   I might give it a thought!

      Lucki responds to Mya:
  OK. Lemme know when you get back to campus. I love you forever. Mwah. Bye bye.
        Fri, Jan 9, 2021 at 10:51 AM, Mya wrote:
   Love you forever too. Mwah! Bye bye or as you say TTFN.
Sun, Febuary 28, 2021 at 2:54 PM, Marianne. wrote:
  Love it! Thanks for sharing the songs!!!!! 3 pentads of hearts  Enjoying your "greening" tips. -MSG


Lucki responds to Marianne:
  Yeah, they seemed appropriate.  Greening tips?



Sun, Feb 28, 2021 at 7:33 PM, Marianne wrote:
  My comments to you were about your post re: growing greens from cuttings.

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