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Life got complicated for a while there and one thing to go to the back burner was Symbols for Peace. But we are back… at least for the time being.

 

During my writing absence I fulfilled a long time dream and applied to the Peace Corps. A good fit was found all the way around and now I am scheduled to leave for some as-yet-to-be-determined country in Eastern Europe in March 2009. Just long enough away now to conceive and deliver a baby. And what a baby this will be. As details unfold they will appear here. To learn more about the Peace Corps, if you are interested, visit www.peacecorps.gov .

 

Meanwhile, Peaceful Hearts Dolls has a new face on their website. In planning a move out of the country the site has been simplified and the doll selection trimmed to a more manageable size. We’ll keep the dolls out there reminding us all to keep a peaceful heart during my absence, but on a limited scale.

 

So much excitement happening – political change in the air, a new President to take our country in a new direction. Obama or Clinton, either choice works, as long as there is change. My vote is for Barak and has been all along. Maybe I will send him a doll. Check out our updated website at www.peacefulheartsdolls.com Peace!

 

 Several months ago I was in Hollywood, CA celebrating a friend’s birthday. Following a successful and lively surprise dinner we boarded an old London-style double-decker bus for a tour of Los Angeles and Hollywood’s famous and obscure neon signs. If you are in Southern California looking to do something fun and unique you should check it out. The tour is sponsored by the Museum of Neon Art http://www.neonmona.org/flash/index.html, which is, among other things, dedicated to documenting, preserving and restoring outstanding examples of neon signs. 

The next morning a few of us worn out souls were having a quiet breakfast on Hollywood Blvd. About the loudest thing I wanted to hear was the sound of coffee pouring into my cup. Suddenly, from the front of the restaurant a commotion started up. From where I sat my view was partially blocked so all I could see was a sea of disembodied red hats slowly moving forward on a wave of laughter.  

Like many of us, I had heard of the Red Hat Society, and even seen a few ladies here and there dressed in their society regalia. But I’d never witnessed a good 50 women dressed in purple and topped with every style of red hat imaginable, from relatively demure sequined baseball caps to architectural wonders of feathers and lace. And to see just the hats at first was another thing altogether. For a brief moment I swore off surprise parties.  

The laughing ladies were led to their private room and quiet settled again over the rest of the dining room. We finished our breakfasts and our fun vacation and went back to our daily lives. But the sea of red hats and what they represent lingered on for me. When I got home I dug out my 50th birthday gift copy of “Warning”, by Jenny Joseph, the poem that inspired a movement. It never fails to amaze me how one little thing can make such an enormous difference in people’s lives.

Did Jenny Joseph even begin to imagine that her delightful poem about growing old somewhat less than gracefully would bring such joy to so many women facing aging in a society that values youth over age and experience? That some women who might not otherwise have much of a social life have an extended network support and friends in hats? Did she guess that her simple poem would generate an entire global business dedicated to fun, and at the same time providing employment for countless people? Probably not. 

When I read “Warning” I am reminded not just of the joy of growing older and wiser. I am reminded yet again of the power of one, how one is truly the number that counts the most. Without one there can never be two; one by one we come together to form twos and threes and fours. One by one and together we CAN make a difference. Stand up and be One, or grab a friend and be Two.  

I salute Jenny Joseph and the thousands of women who give fair warning to the world. They are all making a difference, one woman at a time. And I remind each reader that you, too, can be an instrument of change, one act, one moment, one heart at a time. This is why I created Peaceful Hearts Dolls, gentle reminders that peace truly is possible.

To get a free red hat with a doll purchase visit the dolls’ website at www.PeacefulHeartsDolls.com. Use promotion code: 1FREEHAT . Thank you for visiting this blog and sharing in the belief that “when my heart is at peace the world is at peace.”

          

  Connections – A Forum For Women In Business, lost one of its founding members this past week. Kaye Martens guided many clients toward more peaceful living with her business, Perceptions of Place. And she always delighted Connections members at meetings with her Feng Shui limericks. Kaye will be deeply missed by those who loved her and those who benefited from her great store of knowledge. 

A few days before her passing I was fortunate to spend a couple of hours with Kaye in her home. I went just to take her some lunch and help out around the house a bit; it was intended to be a short visit. After finishing up the tasks I’d arrived to do, Kaye and I started chatting while her funny cat, Got Milk, went back and forth between us for attention. We talked about this and that, life and death, and, of course, Feng Shui. 

Kaye asked me to draw a floor plan of my home office, so on the back of one of her many medical forms from Kaiser, I sketched it out. She marked it up, showing me the various important aspects according to Feng Shui principles and told me I needed to move my desk across the room. She also recommended that I hang a mobile with pictures of the dolls from my collection over the center of this space. Eventually we said our goodbyes and I promised to bring pictures of the dolls the next time we visited, not realizing that this would be my only visit. On my way home I stopped at the art supply store she recommended and picked up the mobile.  

Yesterday I decided to move the desk. This was in honor of Kaye’s memory even more than the thought that rearranging furniture would bring positive and calming energy into my space. What ensued was what I refer to as “The Law of Projects, “ which goes like this: The amount of time expended, money spent and number of trips to the hardware store is in direct inverse proportion to the simplicity of the original project. Many hours and a few tears later the desk and computer are moved across the room and the computer and phones actually work again. That’s about it. The rest of the room is still in complete and utter chaos. 

I picked a very hot Sunday afternoon to tackle the project and worked until after 11pm. When the desk was pulled out the once tidy bundles of carefully labeled cords and wires came alive and turned into a tangled mass of snakes. The bookshelves no longer line up properly. The lamp doesn’t fit. I can’t find the stapler. The computer’s speakers don’t work so I can’t play some soothing music, something I could really use right now.  God love her; I am muttering under my breath at Kaye right now. I need to get some work done so will have to live with things as is until I make some time to continue. It is all quite frustrating. Sometimes I don’t like being an independent woman, but that is another story for another time.  

Certainly once this is done it will be a pleasant space, hopefully one with proper Feng Shui. I know it will get there in a couple of days. Meanwhile, I swear I can hear Feng Shui Kaye chuckling, all the while nodding in approval. I can’t wait to hang that mobile.

 You can find out about Connections by visiting www.connectionsca.com , or if you’d like to see the pictures I never got to take to Kaye but will eventually go in the mobile visit the Peaceful Hearts Dolls collection at www.peacefulheartsdolls.com .

Around 35 years ago I went to a job-sponsored seminar on breast cancer awareness. It was a remarkably progressive thing for the former Pacific Telephone to sponsor at a time when women were barely allowed to wear pants to the office. It was also the first time breast cancer was even a remote concept in my consciousness.  

The speaker told us that one in eleven women would get breast cancer. I looked around the room and counted eleven women. Sometimes I think back to that day and wonder which, if any, of those women was the one. I read today that the statistic is now one in eight. My dear cousin, Martha, is one of the eight; luckily she is also a survivor.  

As October, National Breast Cancer Awareness month, draws near, I begin getting promotional materials from various vendors. My favorite is a terrific company called Positive Promotions out of New York. They call themselves “your one-stop shopping source for awareness and educational tools.” And indeed they are. I recently received a sixteen page catalog of breast health awareness items!  

If you are looking for any promotional items for your organization or event, I highly recommend that you check them out at www.positivebca.com . Their selection is amazing and affordable, the knowledge they strive to share is invaluable.  

When I decided to add a Breast Cancer Awareness doll to the Peaceful Hearts™ Dolls collection I searched high and low on the internet for the perfect pink ribbon item to include. This is how I eventually found Positive Promotions and the pink ribbon/peace dove lapel pin included with this special doll. You can see the pin and the doll by visiting http://www.peacefulheartsdolls.com/dolls.asp#Breast_Cancer_Awareness_Dolls  

 Have a peaceful day!

Essentially this is a blog about peace. Although it takes off in all sorts of directions, each path comes down to the fact that having a peaceful heart is the first step toward peace on earth. Peaceful Hearts Dolls started as a whim. At first I just wanted to make some cute dolls. Eventually the idea to add a message for peace within each doll came about.

Searching for a good message, I ran across a multitude of quotes; then I found the perfect one:

                  “When my heart is at peace the world is at peace” 

When our hearts are troubled our world view is also troubled. Sometimes it is impossible to avoid heartache. Although there is much to be said about “The Secret” and The Law of Attraction, life’s realities are unavoidable; life can hurt. We can’t change everything, but we can choose how we respond to many of the challenges we face.  

Unless you are the Dali Lama you probably cannot always have a peaceful heart. Maybe even his heart wavers occasionally. But, you can have moments of sublime peace. And when you are in that moment you become an instrument of peace. Brief though they may be, each second or minute adds up. Really, it is possible to have peace, one moment at a time, one heart at a time. 

Peaceful Hearts Dolls are whimsical, funny little harbingers of peace. They are designed to delight you, to make you and your loved ones laugh. The breast cancer awareness doll offers hope for healing as well as peace. For a smile, a laugh, maybe a moment of peace, take a look at www.peacefulheartsdolls.com. Just for grins.

Several days a week I wander down the road in the woods, looking for ideas in my mind or sorting things out if there are too many there already. Sometime I go just for the peace of mind that settles in after walking in nature for an hour or so. The birds are a big delight on these ramblings.

This morning I did not even have to leave the house to get a big dose of bird activities. The trees outside my living room window were all atwitter with little brown finches busy with their morning activities. I watched them chatter with each other, shake their feathers and stretch their legs until they all left at once, taking their business off to another tree.  

Then from my office window I watched quail picking for seeds tossed from the bird feeder. Bright yellow finches hung upside down in the lavender while a hummingbird checked out the remaining jasmine blossoms nearby. Two large crows watched and loudly commented on everything they saw. 

This got me to thinking of a conversation a hiking group once had when we came upon a pair of swans and their babies. Nobody could remember the unusual name for a baby swan, so I volunteered to do the research. Here is what I learned: 

Bird Gatherings and More 

Swan songs -  

Have you ever heard of a HERD of Swans?

A baby swan is a CYGNET

An adult male swan is a COP

The adult female is a PEN 

More bird tidbits -  

A BEVY of Quail and a COVEY of grouse 

A CHARM of finches, a CHATTERING or a MURMURATION of starlings 

A COLONY of seagulls, a FLIGHT of doves or swallows and a HOST of sparrows 

A GAGGLE of geese, unless they are flying, in which case they become a SKEIN 

A TEAM of ducks and a SEIGE of herons 

A PARLIAMENT of owls, complemented by a CONVOCATION of eagles 

A NYE of pheasants, yet a MUSTER of peacocks 

A FALL of woodcocks 

And a MURDER of crows!

Birds are generally so delightful, although the crows at times make me a bit nuts. They always have so much to say, and say it loudly and often. For something that has nothing to do with birds, but are delightful in an entirely different way, visit the Peaceful Hearts Dolls collection at www.peacefulheartsdolls.com . You’ll be glad you did! And get out there to enjoy some nature, why don’t you?

If you did not read “For Better or Worse” today, do it asap. Shannon Lake, April Patterson’s classmate, should run for Congress. Or maybe go to law school so she can end up on the Supreme Court!

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