Living a ritualistic life…….

One Easter Sunday I sat in our Illinois church home. I listened to the story I have heard annually all of my life. The story of how Peter denied he was a follower of Jesus.  I remembered when I first realized without the stories of Judas betraying Jesus, Peter denying Jesus and Paul persecuting Stephen and being blinded on the road to Damascus there might not be a religious movement we now know as Christianity. Around the same time as the Christianity epiphany, I made the leap to the reasons for the collection of stories that brought forth the Jewish monotheistic faith…

One God focuses our faith…..

One God consolidates our thoughts…..

One God gives us a universal reason for working together….

One God allows us to pray, worship and share our spiritual rituals with each other…..

Spiritual rituals sooth our souls….

Spiritual rituals allow us to be present…..

Spiritual rituals remind us to be mindful of our better selves….

Spiritual rituals calm our troubled minds…..

God is good…..

Embracing the ebb and flow of my walk with God strengthens my faith in good…..

Honoring the good in my life holds evil at bay….

Celebrating the good in Christmas, Lent, Easter, Epiphany, All Saints Day gives me common ground with my family and friends…..

All is well and good with my soul……


©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved


Just Tumbling Along…..

Tumbleweeds are a late summer to late winter, western Kansas, eastern Colorado crop. There are tumbleweeds in other parts of the southwest, western Oklahoma and Texas, all over Arizona and New Mexico. However, when I think of tumbleweeds I see them tumbling across highways and byways on my way to Colorado through western Kansas.

I really like tumbleweeds. They roll along, blowing wherever the wind takes them. They congregate along a fence line, until the wind detaches them one by one and they roll on to dryer pastures. It is a meditation to watch, romantic, even.

“A tumbleweed is a structural part of the above-ground anatomy of a number of species of plants, a diaspore that, once it is mature and dry, detaches from its root or stem, and tumbles away in the wind. In most such species the tumbleweed is in effect the entire plant apart from the root system, but in other plants a hollow fruit or an inflorescence might serve the function. Tumbleweed species occur most commonly in steppe and arid ecologies, where frequent wind and the open environment permit rolling without prohibitive obstruction.” Wikipedia

Grandma Smith brought a large tumbleweed back to Mom one November. She had been out to western Kansas for the annual Smith Family pheasant and quail hunting trek with grandpa, uncles, and male cousins over the age of 12. Mom spray painted the tumbleweed silver, put a lot of different sized blue Christmas bulbs inside it and hung it up. Our Christmas tumbleweed hung in the front of the large picture window in the front room for many years. I can see it hanging there all silver and blue representing the sparkle of the holidays.Tumbleweed Christmas

I googled tumbleweed Christmas and found a really close version of what it looked like. Apparently, the Scott’s like Christmas tumbleweeds, too. There were also many other ways to dress up a tumbleweed. A body could order tumbleweed from a website in Arizona. I am going to go on a tumbleweed finding adventure myself this November.

I’ll be rolling along, humming the Tumbleweed Song……..

See them tumbling down

Pledging their love to the ground

Lonely but free I’ll be found

Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds


Cares of the past are behind

Nowhere to go but I’ll find

Just where the trail will wind

Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds


I know when night has gone

That a new world’s born at dawn

I’ll keep rolling along

Deep in my heart there’s a song

Here on the range I belong

Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds


I know when night has gone

That a new world’s born at dawn

I’ll keep rolling along

Deep in my heart is a song

Here on the range I belong

Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds

                                    Sons of the Pioneers

©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved


A Tale of Two Years continued….

The Brandywine River Years…. the past 22 months have been a series of twists and turns, lives circling in and out between “the known and unknown.”*

Granddaughter Alice and her high school sweetheart were married on a beach in Hawaii in December 2013. Surrounded by family and friends they repeated their vows in our family church and celebrated with a dinner dance Memorial Day weekend 2014.  Much loved Aunt Norma slipped away while sleeping in January 2015. She cared deeply for all of her darling children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sister, nieces, nephews…  She is missed most every day.

In April Granddaughter Alice and her Marine husband welcomed a beautiful daughter to love. We’ve had high school graduations, college years, an Eagle Scout Ceremony, moved across town…

Employment takes up months in the year. Family takes up weeks in the month. Home making takes up days in the week. Pets take up hours in the day. Community and volunteer life takes up minutes in the hour. Personal time takes up seconds in the minute.

We ask ourselves, over and over, again, “If not now, when?” Now is the time we have to right our life, to imagine our present to achieve our future…Together time to travel, time to spend with family and friends, time to be creative and earn an extra dime or three.

We just keep on floating, enjoying the wind and the rain and the sun and the moon and the stars in the sky. Join us as we embark on the really golden years…….


*The name Baranduin was Sindarin for “golden-brown river”. The Hobbits of the Shire originally gave it the punning name Branda-nîn, meaning “border water” in original Hobbitish Westron.  To the Hobbits of the Shire, the Brandywine was the boundary between the known and unknown, and even those who lived in Buckland on the immediate opposite shore were considered “peculiar”. Lord of the Rings Trilogy, J.R.R. Tolken
©2015 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved

Blue Moon………

My first blue moon sighting was in October, 1996. I was leaving my apartment in DeKalb, Illinois. I remember it was a beautiful, bright, cool night. At that point I knew nothing about blue moons. If I thought about them at all, I figured it was folklore or an old wives tale or granny juju or a song about being lonely without hope of love.  I knew nothing about two moons in a month or the third moon in a four moon season or even atmospheric conditions causing a blue tinged moon.

I looked up at a beautiful full moon hanging huge to the south, slightly southwest of where I was standing.  There were blue rings around the edges. The moon surface had patches of dark blue and light blue. I asked my roommate what she knew about blue moons. Did she know if they were real? She said they were real, rare and that was all she knew.

I went on about my life, believing that the blue moon I saw that October night in 1996 was a talisman of my graduate school days, living my life for myself, doing what I wanted to do, when I wanted do it; a harbinger of good things to come. The past several years, my life had been a series of highs and lows and was beginning to even out to an up and down rhythm.

My second blue moon sighting was last night, August 21, 2013. On Monday evening, August 20, I noticed what appeared to be a beautiful full moon. This moon did not have the blue aura of my previous sighting. Later in the evening, while surfing my favorite sites on the internet,  I noticed a reference about a blue moon. My computer table, office chair and laptop are finally set up in my lily cave (second bedroom), so I settled in for a little blue moon research.

Research turned up several definitions of the blue moon phenomena. My first blue moon sighting was a full, blue moon. So this was a rare sighting and was probably atmospheric in origin. What was going on in 1996? I found a full moon schedule of dates from 1900 to the present. There was a full moon on October 26, 1996. What were the atmospheric conditions in and around north central Illinois the last of October? On October 26, 1996, the largest late season tornado outbreak on record occurred. There were 26 tornadoes, beginning in Nebraska, moving to South Dakota and into Minnesota by late afternoon, early evening.  The atmosphere was definitely churning that day. I believe this explains my blue moon sighting. After all, I am a folk and it is my lore!

My second blue moon sighting is the third moon in a four moon season. My life is more balanced today. I have learned that seasons matter and that going with the flow of my life works well. The affirmation I receive from all of the rare and wonderful sightings in my life, of which blue moons are the rarest, of course, keeps me moving to the next right place for me to be.

My next blue moon sighting will be in July, 2015, a month with two moons. I think there needs to be a blue moon celebration for all blue moons. Of course, I believe celebrations are important vertebra  on the backbone of a healthy lifestyle……

©2013 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved





Along the Banks………

We have been floating close to the banks of the waterways the past seven months. After much drama and financial instability, we moved to Kanas, where Lily has a job and, most importantly, health insurance. Our lives appear to be leveling off. Some days all we could do was take a deep breath and plunge ahead.

The angst of finding a new place to live, downsizing from 2200 square feet of living space, with a walkup attic, to 1400 square feet, packing and loading the two rental trucks and trailer is fading from a three month distance. The other day I checked in with my muscles and brain tissue and found the pain of almost 24/7 packing and loading had finally leeched out of my body.

Sam and Abby and their parents will join us for Thanksgiving and I have become reconciled to seeing them three to four times a year. Although, I am looking forward to using the webcam I gave to their parents on October 31 for the great costume unveiling!

I am thinking it is time to venture off the water banks a little and find a place somewhere between the edge and the middle……….



The other day I was wondering how to describe exactly what the word “thing” meant. Recently, we have been using the phrases “It is just one thing after another,” or “If it is not one thing, it is another,” to describe our lives. As I search for another paying gig I have been using my personal favorite,“What is the next best thing?”

I went to my handy wikitionary website and found what I was looking for. I backed up my research with information from Merriam-Webster online.  As usual, the English language has multiple definitions for a string of letters we pronounce as a word. No wonder non-English native speakers question our spoken meaning.

Thing noun

1. a material object without life or consciousness; an inanimate object.

2. some entity, object, or creature that is not or cannot be specifically designated or precisely described: The stick had a brass thing on it.

3. anything that is or may become an object of thought: things of the spirit.

4. things, matters; affairs: Things are going well now.

5. a fact, circumstance, or state of affairs: It is a curious thing.


From Middle English, from Old English þing (thing), from Proto-Germanic *þingan; compare German Ding, Danish and Norwegian ting. The word originally meant “assembly”, then came to mean a specific issue discussed at such an assembly, and ultimately came to mean most broadly “an object”. Compare the Latin res, also meaning legal matter. Modern use to refer to a Germanic assembly is likely influenced by cognates (from the same Proto-Germanic root) like Old Norse þing (thing), Swedish ting, and Old High German ding with this meaning.

What is your thing…………..

©2012 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved


Living my sum total life…….

We are the sum total of our life experiences and choices made while living those experiences. I am accountable for decisions I make and accept responsibility for actions resulting from those choices. Choosing to not make a decision is a choice. I am then responsible for consequences resulting from the non-decision.  Seems I cannot get away from accepting responsibility for myself!

Sometimes when my sum total life intersects with others living their sum total life conflicts arise. Then my choice is to be in their experience or leave and find another place to be.  Why do we stay? Why do we go?

At the end of every Rotary meeting we stand and repeat the Rotary Four-Way Test in unison:

Is it the truth?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build good will and better friendships?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

I ask myself the four Rotary questions in everything I think, say and do now. If the answer is no, I have a choice to make.

Some choices are easier to live with than others……..

©2012 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved



Still Floatin’……..

The old lily pad has been listing a little from the wear and tear of the past eight months. Mike has had several brushes with pneumonia. The third weekend of September he was in intensive care for several days and two  days in intermediate care. About six weeks later he was in intermediate care for several days. About a month after that he went to the doctor when he started to feel lousy. She caught the beginning of the pneumonia. He was able to come home on antibiotics. Mike is paying closer attention to what his body is telling him. I know what pneumonia breathing sounds like. Continuing education has always been important to me.

In October, Sam’s mom gave birth to his sister, Abby, and daughter Jami called and asked if she, her husband and the children could move in with us while they got their financial life back together. We looked at each other, took a deep gulp of air, said yes and went off to visit the new baby. Son-in-law Don finished up his CDL (Commercial Driver License) class in Kansas. Jami and the children showed up the beginning of October.

We had two high school students switching schools again, 6 weeks into the school year. A recent high school graduate who did not really  know what she wanted to do in life. And then there is the preschooler working  on her PH.D in teenage smart talk. The Jami mama is working as an executive assistant at the museum where I was working the past eight months.

We are four months into this intergenerational experiment. I have left the museum. Mike has applied for disability. I am once again wondering just what I really want to do with the rest of my life. Right now all I want to do is earn enough to pay our monthly COBRA insurance bill.

We are entering a new life phase. The float is still all good………..


©2012 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved





My life has changed again…..

 Mike is recovering from his death brush. I am working full time once again. Alice is here for several weeks. We have a half grown kitten named Jasper giving Jem fits. There is a TV in the living room.  

“Chaos Theory is a scientific theory describing erratic behavior in certain nonlinear dynamical systems”, according to Wikipedia. The concept of a chaos theory has always appealed to me. Especially as applied to life systems and processes. Chaos is how I would describe my June. My insides were jumping around like the inside of a shaken maraca. I would have to retreat to a quiet place in my head to listen for my instincts telling me the next right step to take.

There was a certain order going on around me. I could only grasp outside myself and reach toward the linear process from the Emergency Room, to the Intensive Care Unit, to the Immediate Care Unit, to the Rehabilitation Unit to Mike’s release. Now we are in the building back the muscle mass to improve strength and come back physically and emotionally to where we started. The slow march of the process was my sanity line. Surviving what life throws at us is the game in life,

I love my life and am really good at games ……

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved


Games We Play…….

Starting is always easier than stopping. I had never played a computer game until last March. The first was a jewel matching game. Next there was Scrabble, then Bookworm Deluxe, Plants vs. Zombies, Jewel Quest 3. I have been through two rounds of Jewel Quest 3 on two different computers and three rounds of Plant vs. Zombies.

Several months ago I succumbed to the Farmville and Frontierville craze. They are fun to play. The time they take is incredible. I was able to stop playing after 6 weeks or so.  My neighbors are still un-withering my crops and sending me free gifts. Talk about feeling guilty.

Mike tells me there is a game addiction reality show. Really? He says they talk about the pitfalls of playing video games. There is the taking-time-away-from-your-spouse downside. No surprise this one came up at the breakfast table. My worry has been more along the line of reading fewer books, less time to cook and garden and no time to swim at the Park District Athletic Center. Men really are from Mars and they are pretty predictable, too. Let me check the TV memory chip for number of reality tv shows viewed!

The upside of these games is the incredible workout they have given my brain cells. My memory is better than ever and my mental reflexes are better than ever. Take that reality TV show……

At Rotary this week a friend was showing all of us a game her grandson plays on her phone. The game is awesome and I am working on a new set of skills. You can find the Angry Birds game app in the market section of your Android or I-Phone.

Happy playing ……..

©2011 Susan Kendall.  All rights reserved