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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 23,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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Hey, here’s a post from the young lady I told you about earlier, the very crafty college girl who is spending her summer as an au pair in an Italian seaside town.  OH TO BE YOUNG AND SPENDING A SUMMER IN ITALY!!! In this post, she finds a yarn store. Check out how the yarns are displayed – very Italian. Nothing is out where you can touch it.


Finding a Yarn Store.

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The Arizona Rosary

I saw this story on the Internet today and thought of all of you with prayer beads. Here’s an excerpt:

“By 7 p.m., about 25 people are slouched in metal folding chairs on the corner of a dusty lot at Roeser Road and Central Avenue.

Many of them gently weave brightly beaded rosaries through their hands as they recite the “Hail Mary” prayer in Spanish and later, in English.


slideshow Forty days in the desert 2010

“Dios te salve, Maria, llena eres de gracia,” they pray. Teens yell out their car windows at the group. Tires squeal and music blasts. But the eyes of those praying remain closed, heads bowed as they hear the intermittent “click” of each prayer bead as it falls. “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee . . . ”

These south-central Phoenix residents have recited the rosary daily since June 13. Each time, they offer a prayer for immigrants and U.S. citizens, and ask God for federal immigration reform that would legalize some undocumented immigrants to keep families together.”

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Most Inspiring Person 2009

It’s that time of year again – the time when Beliefnet.com holds its annual “Most Inspiring Person of the Year” award and contest. I have been writing the profiles for this “MIPY” package for Beliefnet for the last 3 or 4 years, and I get to talk to all these cool nominees (okay, most of ’em, especially the ones who are still alive!) and write about their accomplishments. I thought this was a particularly strong year.

This year’s heavyweight is Capt. Sully Sullenberger, the pilot who landed the US Airways plane in the middle of the Hudson River last January. Didn’t get to talk to him – despite the fact he’s on a major book and publicity tour and has talked to everyone BUT me. Still, I think he’s gonna be hard to beat. But I did talk to Zach Bonner, the 12-year-old who started his own foundation to benefit homeless kids, and to Jorge Morales, a school bus driver who’s been feeding the down-and-out from his own pocket every day for several years. And I talked to a few more really cool people who all deserve a few minutes of our attention for the lesson they can teach us – it only takes one person to make a difference.

So go to the link above and read the profiles and vote for your favorites – if you can stand the pop-up ads that appear every single time you click on anything on the Beliefnet site. That’s what’s happened since Fox took it over. Sigh.

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Janice Lynne Lundy

Hello, everyone. As I promised in my last post, we have a guest blogger today – Janice Lynne Lundy. Jan is an interfaith spiritual director, spiritual mentor, inspirational speaker and workshop and retreat leader in Michigan. She is the author of three books, the most recent of which is Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant To Be. We will be giving a away a copy of Your Truest Self to one of today’s commentators in a random drawing.

I met Jan here on this blog, when she left a comment last June, and then asked me to be a guest blogger on her site, Awake is Good, which frequently touches on meditation and other spiritual practices.

Today, Jan prepared the following essay for us on the value of spiritual practices – which includes using prayer beads of all types. I hope you enjoy it – and that at the end, you will post a comment or question for Jan, who will be checking in throughout the day to respond.

Here’s Jan:

Finding Your Ideal Spiritual Practice

We have all witnessed others engaged in meaningful spiritual practices. Bearded men garbed in black, bobbing rhythmically at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. White-robed swamis chanting “Hare Krishna.” A Gospel singer raising the rafters with heartfelt strains of “Amazing Grace.” Sufi Dervishes whirling. African drummers drumming. A lone Buddhist meditating cross-legged on a craggy peak overlooking the ocean. All these and more fill our imaginations, ever hopeful that we, too, might find practices that enliven our spirit.

Spiritual practices, simply put, are those activities that connect us more deeply with the virtues of the Spirit, with the Divine itself, by whatever name we call it. They are practices that provide us with a unique opportunity to experience sacred time and space; to remove ourselves from the distractions and noise of a too busy world, and remember our spiritual connection. Spiritual practices, properly cultivated, enable us to access inner calm, joy, and gratitude for life.

A Feast for the Spirit

The variety of spiritual practices available to us is boundless, as is our understanding of the sacred. There are quiet practices: various forms of prayer, meditation, silence, or sacred reading; active practices: singing, chanting, dancing, worship, or creative expression; and physical practices: yoga, bowing, tai chi, gardening, or mindful walking. Spiritual practices can be done alone or with others. In one’s home, in nature, in a church, temple or mosque, at all times of day or night.

It might seem that we must search long and hard to find the spiritual practices that will nourish and sustain us. In truth, all we need do to uncover them is explore a bit, then listen deeply as we “feel” our way through them. The measuring stick by which we discern whether a particular practice suits us is through body awareness—through the vehicle of our thoughts, physical senses, and emotions.

Any spiritual practice that we try on for size should, initially, have a positive effect upon us. We notice what thoughts we are having; if conscious thought has slowed or disappeared, altogether. Is our body at ease? Are our senses pleased? Are we feeling a sense of connection to our spirit, or with a Higher Power? We listen to what our body/mind says and we honor its wisdom.

With dedication, we will locate the “right” practices for us. By staying faithful to them, we will begin to experience their deeper benefits. The key is dailiness. It takes time for spiritual practices to work their magic upon us—to root us more deeply in the qualities of the spirit. Psychologists tell us it takes twenty-one days to create any new habit, ninety days for that habit to stick. Spiritual practices are no exception. It may take a year or more for them to become an invaluable part of our lifestyle.

Have Practices, Will Travel

A personal spiritual practice, well honed, can also provide comfort and stability in a very busy life. It can dependably deliver us to the shores of peace and well-being no matter where we find ourselves. For example, if nature is our spiritual connector, all we need do is step outside, take a deep breath, and feast our eyes on Mother Nature’s glory. If music enhances our sacred connection, we can plug into that—literally—with an iPod or CD player, in a car or on an airplane. Books for inspirational reading can be taken anywhere, as can a yoga mat or prayer rug for devotional practice. Have practices, will travel, I say. It is sound and wise for us to cultivate spiritual practices that can be done alone, anytime, anywhere.

Becoming the Practice

In time, the lines of distinction between ourselves and the spiritual practice will begin to blur. We actually become the practice. Its benefits—inner calm, openheartedness, generosity of spirit—meld into us. One day we may actually awaken to realize that we not only feel more loving, be we have become more loving; that we do not just feel more peaceful, but that we have become a peaceful presence in the world. Our friends and family confirm this. They tell us we are different; that we have changed for the better.

Ultimately, by engaging in spiritual practices, we have not only benefited ourselves, but we have done the world a great service. Perhaps, unknowingly, we have succeeded at what peacemaker Mahatma Gandhi invited us to:

To be the change we so desperately wish to see

in the world today.bookthumbnail

And this is Kimberly again – I LOVE this quote from Ghandi, don’t you? This should be our prayer today – say it with or without prayer beads: “Lord, make me the change we so desperately wish to see in the world today.”

Jan, I’ll start with a question: My biggest problem with spiritual practice (in my case, the regular use of prayer beads as a means for meditation) is sticking with it. I have a terrible time keeping my mind still and focused on my prayer. I get discouraged. Can you give me some advice on how to tap into that quiet place? And I fear am I too hard on myself when I don’t stay in that place for very long – and that just makes me want to avoid going there – and failing to do it – again? What benefit will I gain by being easier on myself?

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Jan Lundy

Well, here’s a first for Bead One, Pray Too – a guest blogger! I hope you will all join me in welcoming Janice Lynne Lundy to this corner of the internet on Thursday, Nov. 5.

Let me tell you a bit about Jan, who I met when she wrote into this blog several months ago. Jan is an interfaith spiritual director, inspirational speaker and the author of several books, the most recent being Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You are Meant to Be. She lives in Michigan and conducts retreats and workshops all over the place.

Your Truest Self is part memoir, part spiritual workbook. In it, Jan shares her very rich experiences as a spiritual seeker among mystics, artists, teachers and other wise women. She takes what she gleaned from them and distills them into “Twelve Truths” that can help us find the person inside us that God wants us to be. And while the book is written for women, men will find some true jewels in here, too.

Let me give you a sample:

“As our journeys unfold, each of us will need to determine what it is we have come to know as personal truth. “Know thyself,” Socrates said, for self-knowledge will lead to God-knowledge. “Tell me your beliefs, and I will tell you who you are,” said another, unknown philosopher, indicating that our beliefs form the basis of how we choose to live. To walk in the world as our truest selves we must first uncover the core beliefs that form the basis of our thoughts, feelings, and actions, whether they be lofty or base, original or borrowed, true or false for us.

And so I pose this same question to you that I have posed to myself many times over the years: Who are you, and what do you really believe?”

Jan very kindly asked me to guest blog on her site, Awake is Good last August and I had a fantastic time. Her readers asked me very thoughtful, well-considered questions, so I hope you all will return the favor! Heres how it is going to work – Jan has prepared a beautiful essay on the value of spiritual practices and how we can each find our ideal one. For many of us, this is prayer beads, but there is also meditation of many types, art, dance, singing, reading – oh my goodness, so many. I know you will find Jan insightful about all things contemplative and prayerful, as I have. I’ll post Jan’s essay early Thursday morning and she’ll check in to answer your questions through the day. I’ll pop in and out too – I already see a great prayer in her essay that can be used on prayer beads. And on Monday, we’ll give away a copy of Jan’s very fine book to one of you who has chimed in.

So, see you all here on Thursday, Nov. 5.

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It has just come to my attention that there were a whole slew of comments that were awaiting my approval that I had completely missed! Some of them dated back to last December! People, I am so sorry about this! I am not the most gifted person when it comes to dealing with computers and technology and I assure you this was just an oversight on my part. I thought WordPress was sending me an email each time there was a comment awaiting approval, but apparently not – or I just missed a whole heckuva lot of these emails. Anyway, some of you sent some wonderful comments about your own prayer practices, your prayer beads and the way some of the prayers and stories I’ve posted have made you feel or think. I am so sorry for the lag in sharing them.

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Okay, everybody head over the Jan Lundy’s Awake is Good blog and see what she and I and all our great readers have to say about prayer beads as an enhancement to spiritual practice. Chime in with a comment – how about your favorite prayer bead prayer?

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Guest Blogging

Dragonfly wings

Dragonfly wings

I am making my first appearance as a “guest blogger” this Thursday on Awake is GoodJanice Lynne Lundy‘s excellent blog on meditation, contemplation and plain old spiritual awareness. Jan is the author of Your Truest Self and is a spiritual teacher and retreat leader based in Traverse City, Mich. While much of her work is founded on Buddhism, she has an interfaith focus – something I think you all know I believe in profoundly.

Last month, Jan commented on one of my blog entries and mentioned the practice of “metta prayers,”  something I had never heard of. I asked her to explain to all of us what that was, which she did in another blog entry. Soon we were engaging in an email exchange that is culminating in me submitting something for her readers who may or may not have experience with prayer beads.

So, on Thursday, I’ll make an announcement here about my “appearance” on her blog, with a link, and I hope you will all engage in a conversation with Jan’s regular readers about how you combine contemplative prayer with beads. There will also be a giveaway of a copy of my book, so be sure and get hooked up on her blog for that!

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Meet Taffy

Many of you sent me lovely comments and prayers following my post last March about the death our beloved dog, Bella. It was very difficult to lose her and I spent a good six weeks in a pretty bad depression. But my husband and I promised ourselves that when we returned from our May vacation, we would adopt another dog.

Readers, here she is . . . . . . TAFFY!



Taffy is a 7-month-old Belgian Malinois mix we adopted from our local animal shelter about three weeks ago. She was placed in their night deposit box, probably by her owner. She had a boo-boo on her nose, which is now almost all healed. I saw her the day she was processed and that’s all she wrote, as they say.

Taffy may have been a foreclosure dog. She came to us housebroken (with a few lapses), seemingly crate trained, and knowing a few hand signals. I don’t think was abused because she seems unafraid of everyone and everything.

The day Taffy came home

The day Taffy came home

Taffy is quite a handful. I have not had a puppy since I was a teenager. We are having a mouthing issue, but it is getting better. She is showing all the signs of being a wonderful, loving companion. She sleeps through the night in her crate, she loves to go to the dog park, and her favorite toy is a plush stump with three squeaky chipmunks she can pull out and wrassle with. We both love her and she loves us.

Taffy and String Dog

Taffy and String Dog

So that’s the update! Now, when you think of me writing, picture sweet little Taffy asleep somewhere nearby. Believe me, if she isn’t a asleep, I ain’t gettin’ nuthin done.

Okay, a couple more pictures below:

Taffy loves Terry

Taffy loves Terry

Running free at the dog park

Running free at the dog park

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