The last time I saw Susan she was three years old.
She lived in my hometown and was Julia, my best friend’s, little sister. I was thirteen years old when my dad died and we left the town where he taught at the local college. Mother got a job out of state and I lost touch with both sisters. Years later, Julia and I reconnected, followed by my reconnecting with Susan. We became Facebook friends and were in touch almost daily. Her creativity, compassion for others, and energy, were a breath of fresh air.
On October 9 this year, Susan passed unexpectedly. When I saw her daughter’s post on Facebook, announcing her Mom’s death, I was heart sick. Even now, thinking of it gives me a lump in my throat.
A few days ago, I found the Christmas card Susan sent me last year.
This is so much more than a Christmas card to me. It is a reminder to take the time to let people know how you feel. Susan’s card will inspire me to send physical reminders to let others know they matter to me, and why.
Years ago, I read that sincere compliments are so rare, we remember them for a lifetime. At my age, a physical reminder is helpful. In the age of everything quick, reactionary and electronic, a personal note is especially treasured. This year may be the perfect time to send a hand written note to loved ones to let them know you care.
Stay safe and share your love and light. No day is promised.
The pear is rich with symbolism. In China, it is thought to represent immortality. Biblical references include the promise of salvation and an eternal life. Another context is the Virgin with child. The shape of this herb of Venus is associated with the female form, suggesting fertility and femininity.
Other associations are good health, abundance, longevity, happiness and comfort. I wish my Facebook friends all of these.
From a Facebook post -
"What is on my mind? This beautiful tile I just received from Mikell Worley's collection. Thank you,
Mikell Worley! It is exquisite!
And in response to a comment on the post -
"The layers of material she uses are not as visible in the picture as they are on the tile. They are certainly not as apparent on any print as they are on her original. But, the end result is still so full of dimension, sophistication and a sort of whimsical attachment to what is real. I love it!"
The Feast of Saint Barbara
December 4th is the day we honor St. Barbara. Barbara was born in Nikomedia, now Turkey, in the third century. She was the daughter of Dioscuros, a very wealthy pagan who imprisoned her in a tower to keep her isolated and protected from the evils of the world.
She secretly became a Christian, baptized by a priest disguised as a physician. The tower had only two windows, but while her father was away on a journey, she had a third window added to represent the Holy Trinity.
When Dioscuros returned, he asked her about the third window and she told him that she had become a Christian and would no longer practice pagan rituals. The authorities ordered her execution. She escaped from the tower but was caught, tortured and then killed by her own father. Her father was immediately struck to death by lightning.
Barbara protects against fire, storms, lightning, sudden death and is the patron saint of stone masons, firemen, artillerymen, and those working with fireworks.
Herbs Associated with Saint Barbara's Day
Barbara kept cherry branches in the tower and on the day she died, they burst into bloom. December 4th is the day to bring a cherry branch inside and begin the process of forcing the blooms.
Maria von Trapp of the Trapp Family Singers from the Sound of Music wrote in "Around the Year with the Trapp Family" (Pantheon Books, 1955) that the Austrian legend states that if a person's branch blossoms on Christmas Day, he or she will be married in the following year.
Wheat and Roses
Wheat and roses are both beautiful additions to the Feast of Saint Barbara for decorations and for your meal. Freshly baked bread with rose petal jelly is sublime!
One of my most powerful lessons on creative thinking was my aha! when I realized that half of eight was O!
I was in an arithmetic class in elementary school and as I looked at the number 8, I realized that "half of eight equals 4" wasn't the only right answer! This discovery thrilled me and I immediately raised my hand to share this with my teacher and the rest of the class. The teacher was neither impressed nor pleased. She was visibly annoyed.
By the time I got home, my dad, a calculus professor at an engineering school, had received a call. He sat me down at the dining room table to have a conversation. His face was expressionless (my dad had made a considerable amount of money in the Korean War playing Black Jack and unlike me, had an enviable poker face).
He told me that my teacher had called and given her perspective, quite negative, on my discovery, and he asked me to explain mine.
"Well, I just realized that half of eight can be zero," I said quietly, my head down.
"Can you prove it?" he asked, and I saw a grin cross his face. He knew I could!
So I drew an eight, and covered the top. 0!
My dad was not angry. He was pleased! And as I looked at the 8 I realize it could be an E or a 3! And if I turned it on its side, it could be an m or a w!
It was then that I realized being creative in school might not be well received. Over the years, many teachers wanted me to memorize and regurgitate. Thankfully my dad, a Calculus professor, wanted me to think.
My life would have been very different if he has scolded or reprimanded me as my teacher had. I have often wondered over the years as I've worked with young people, how many times their creative ideas and potential contributions have been squelched. Seeing things in new and different ways adds such joy to life.
Just this morning my daughter Mycala came up with an idea that i could see changing everything in her life, and have a humorous and joyful impact on others! I've been smiling since and thinking of how blessed I was to have support in my life for looking for more than one right answer!
Welcome!! I’m Mikell (pronounced Michael). If you love spicing up your life with herbs, recipes, decorating and crafts, symbolism and rituals like I do, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter and free Enhancing Your Life with Herbs e-book!
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!