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Mojo Monday ~ The Conclusion of Lizzie’s Life

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Nevada ship log showing Lizzie and family.

Lizzie and her daughters

Since February I have been sharing the story of my maternal second great grand aunt Elizabeth Talmer Roberts Shepherd.  She was the sister of my maternal great great grandfather Abel Roberts.  I chose Elizabeth “Lizzie”, because in delving into family geneology I had come across a comprehensive written story of her life.  I was impressed by this young woman’s courage and strength.  If you want to start at the beginning click here.   If you have been following her journey scroll down for the next and final installment of Lizzie and her family’s journey.

Valie took Grace with her and went up on the train to be with Addie for a couple of weeks. Thelma and Grace had a lovely time together in the fall of 1914 when things became quiet for the winter. Lizzie rented out the hotel and took an extended trip. They went first up to Burley, Idaho where Claude and also Edna were living. They then took the train down to Salt Lake City and to southern Utah to visit Lizzie’s brother Will and Ben Roberts. Following that they traveled to Olathe, Colorado to get acquainted with some new family members that had been born there; James Earnest Louise Wiggett (DOB 11/28/1912), Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd III (DOB 02/07/1913) and Agnes Prettyman (DOB 03/01/1913). The family stayed with Carl until about the end of January and then returned to Burley on the train.

When they returned they found George and Edna Hanna had a new son, Calvin Grant Hanna (DOB 01/12/1915). Carl and Annie Shepherd also had a son born that spring, Lyman Shepherd (DOB 03/28/1915). Annie was not able to leave her bed after the birth of this child. The doctor diagnosed her problem as enlargement of the liver, but Valie believed she have had cancer. Annie (Mary Anna Abercrombia Shepherd) suffered a great deal and died about three weeks later on April 18, 1915 in a hospital in Montrose. She was buried on April 21st at Olathe, Colorado.

Valie, Gilford and Bart

Valie, Gilford and Bart

Lizzie and Valie took the train and returned in order to help Carl with the young family. It became apparent he could not work and care for seven children. Annie’s son, Ira Caldwell, was sent off by train to his sister Brazilla in Green River, Wyoming. Electra and 11 and Bertha 9, and they stayed with their father on the ranch at Olathe. Lizzie took the four smaller children back to Denton, Montana. Lora was about 7, Clara about 5, Carlos just past two and Lyman was a new baby only a little over a month old.

 

Claude and Francetta remained at Burley, Idaho that year and had their first son, Claude Albert Shepherd, born there on August 6, 1915. Over in Colorado, Earnest Wiggett and Carl Shepherd lived on East Mesa at Olathe. Mary Wiggett has a younger sister named Hattie May Kinnaman, who lived with their mother Ellazia York Kinnaman Marley in Delta.   Hattie often came to Olathe to visit Mary. Carl took a job on Ash Mesa and boarded with the Markley’s while he worked on the canal. During this time he fell in love with Hattie. They were married at Mrs. Markley’s home in Delta, Colorado on January 16, 1916.

 

Meanwhile back in Denton, Montana, little baby Lyman Shepherd was ill all that spring. Although he was past a year old he could not stand on his feet and was ill until he died at age 14 months on May 1916. Lizzie asked the elders to have President Melvin J. Ballard come and conduct the funeral. He came and preached a very powerful sermon to the large crowd of towns people who came out of curiosity. Sometime later in the summer, Lizzie took the other three children back to Colorado. One cannot begin to understand the feelings of these young children who had lost their own mother, then just as they were getting settled into a life with their grandmother, were then taken back to begin life as members of a new family.

 

Sometime in 1916, Claude Shepherd decided to go to the Uintah Basin of Utah. According to history regarding Joseph Prettyman an Uncle Tom Roberts was running the post office at Cedar View, Utah. The Prettyman family arrived in Roosevelt about this same time and took jobs fencing land for the government Indian reservation in this area. About this same time Jim Peacock inherited $4,000.00 following the death of his father in England. He took this money and invested it with Claude on a piece of land near Red Cap, Utah. Claude build a small frame house for his family and Jim had a tent nearby. The following year another son, Robert Bartley Shepherd, was born to Claude and Francetta, on January 11, 1917.

 

Early in the spring of 1918, Lizzie rented a farm near Roosevelt, Utah. Both the Hanna family and the Huffman family, came up to the area. Two little cousins, Thelma and Grace, enjoyed walking to school together. Sometime early in April, as the girls came home from school, they waded in rain puddles and got very wet. Grace developed a case of croup and became very ill. The croup took her life in a few days and Grace Esther Shepherd died at the age of 6 on April 14, 1918. Bill Tubbs made the casket for her to be laid to rest in. The loss of this dear little girl was very hard for the family to accept.

 

Edna Shepherd

 

Late in that same summer, George and Edna Hanna had another son, Harold Raymond Hanna, born at the ranch near Roosevelt, Utah on August 25, 1918. Also that same year Scott and Addie Huffman suffered a loss of twins. Addie had been having labor pains for about a week and was very ill. When the babies came on September 6, 1918, they were stillborn. The twin girls were given the names Adeline and Valie. They were buried at the foot of Grace’s grave in the Roosevelt Cemetery. Addie was very sick for about three weeks. She had always wanted twins and took the loss very hard. Valie stayed with her and took care of the family until Addie recovered and became stronger.

 

Late in the fall, most of the Shepherd family moved to Grand Junction. Addie became very ill. Valie went to the druggist to ask what they were using to help and he just shrugged and said “Nobody knows what to do.”, so she went to the grocery and bought a bag of onions and a bag of lemons. She made a big pot of onion soup and kept everyone drinking hot lemonade. Everett had a high fever and went out of his head talking about Grace. This alarmed his mother and the family very much. Many people were dying each day during this epidemic of flu. Everyone worried for several days that Addie would not have the strength to survive. Finally she and the others began to improve. However, when Francetta Shepherd got the flu in February, she was not so fortunate. This strain of flu seemed to be especially violent for young children and for women who were expecting. Francetta was one of these women, and after many days of being very ill she died. Francetta Kelsey Shepherd, only 23 years old, was buried at Roosevelt, Utah beside her daughter Grace on February 14, 1919.

 

Early in the spring of the same year, Claude moved his family to Grand Junction. It took him eight days to travel with his wagon from the town of Wellington in Utah, to Colorado. Both Bart and Claude went to work for the irrigation company in the area known as the Redlands South of Grand Juncton. Lizzie and Valie took care of the young boys. It was Grandma who raised Claude and Bob from then until manhood. Late in the fall , the family went to Olathe and spent the winter of 1919-1920 there. It proved to a be a pleasant winter as all the young people would get together at different homes for Saturday night dances.

 

About the middle of May, Valie returned to Grand Junction to be with Addie when her baby arrived. She and Addie were very close and she always looked forward to spending time with her family. She was there with them when the baby, Glen Huffman, was born on May 31, 1920. Early in June the rest of the family returned to Grand Junction. Scott and Addie were just getting ready to move out into the Redlands where Scott had taken a job with a ditch company. The company had a house for them. The Shepherd family moved into the house that they had been living in. Soon after this, Valie and Thelma were going downtown one day when they met John Garrett on the street. He had gotten a piece of steel in his eye, and had been to the doctor. He was wearing dark glasses to protect his eye for a few days. Soon he and Valie were going together again. He took a job irrigating on the Redlands too, and became a frequent visitor at the Huffman’s house.

 

That spring there was an epidemic of whooping cough. Florence, Nellie and Agnes Prettyman all had it. So did Marie Wiggett when her family came for a visit at Addie’s house. The older children would survive it, but a tiny baby did not have enough strength to endure the endless coughing. When Glenn began to get very sick, Addie called the doctor, He came and left a prescription slip. Valie walked out in the fields and asked him if he would take his care and get the filled for the, which he did. However, the baby died before the medicine could help him. Baby Glen Huffman passed away on June 31, 1920. Addie took the loss of this baby very hard. This was the third baby she had buried in less than two years. Claude stayed at Olathe until he had the crops all in. Then in the summer he traveled down to Grand Junction. He and Bill Tubbs got a big carpenter job over at Gateway, Colorado and they worked there until the last of August.

 

Sometime during the year before, when they were living in Grand Junction, Valie had met a girl named Maude McGovern. She had first met her at church. Later Valie went with Edna and George, and a group to a dance at Maude’s house. When Valie came home from this dance, she had told Bart that she had met his wife. Bart really laughed at this idea and said he was not very interested in girls and the idea of a wife was far from his mind. Valie had almost forgotten about this incident, since it was almost a year later. Soon they met up again with Maude following their attendance at the family wedding of Sarah Prettyman and Loren Craig on June 12, 1920.

 

After the wedding, Loren and Sarah were taking a group over to the store for a treat. In the group was Valie, John and Bart. On the way they met Maude. Valie introduced her to everyone else, ignoring Bart. Bart kicked his sister in the shin saying “Sis, aren’t you going to introduce me?” Valie responded “No, this is the girl you didn’t want to meet.” Then she said, “Maude, this is my brother Bart.” Maude talked for a few minutes, congratulations were expressed to Loren and Sarah Craig, then Bart and Maude linked arms and walked off together. They were together from that moment on throughout the rest of their lives.

Bartley and Maude

Bartley and Maude

It was not many days after this that John Garrett purchased a ruby engagement ring and presented it to Valie.  When they announced their plans to be married soon, Bart and Maude thought it such a good ideas, that the two couples began to make plans for a double wedding.  The wedding date was set for July 31, 1930, however, just a few days before the wedding Maude’s step-father died, and her family convinced her she should wait until a later date.  John and Valie went ahead and were married as planned at the home of Scott and Addie Huffman on the Redlands.  They moved into a little house on Main Street and began housekeeping.  John was working on the Redlands where he did irrigation work.  The following Sunday afternoon, August 8, 1920, Bartley and Maude were married at the home of Maude’s mother.  In a few days they moved to a small house in West Camp of the Redlands, where Bart became an overseer of this irrigation camp.

About this same time, Claude and Bill Tubbs came back to Grand Junction from the job at Gateway, where they had been building houses.  Just a month later the family had another wedding when William Tubbs married Lizze Shepherd on September 8, 1920.  They were married at the elders place on Rude Avenue.  John and Valie stood up with them.

After this group of marriages, there remained only person left to be married in the family, and since Gilford was only sixteen years old, he had a few years before he met and married Detta Arhea Norwood on May 5, 1924.

Lizzie Roberts Shepherd Tubbs

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Talmer Roberts Shepherd Tubbs

In December of 1934, George and Edna Hanna were coming to Salt Lake City, Utah to go through the temple and Lizzie decided to join them.  They left Grand Junction, but somewhere out in the desert the old car broke down.  They had to wait quite awhile in the cold before Bart was able to come from Helper and get them.  Lizzie got chilled and became sick.

It was not long after Christmas that her cold turned to pneumonia.  She was weak and tired, and her hip injury pained her a great deal.  Elizabeth “Lizzie” Talmer Robert Shepherd Tubbs died on January 5, 1935 at the home of her son Bart in Helper, Utah.  She was buried at Price, Utah on January 10, 1935.

Lizzie Tubs Obituary

Lizzie Tubs Obituary

 

 

 

Lizzie Grave

Mojo Monday ~ Valie’s Healing and Lizzie’s Growing Family

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Who are your ancestors?  Whose DNA did you inherit?  Have you done any researching or digging into your family’s history?  Have you unearthed any interesting stories?

Since February I have been sharing the story of my maternal second great grand aunt Elizabeth Talmer Roberts Shepherd.  She was the sister of my maternal great great grandfather Abel Roberts.  I chose Elizabeth “Lizzie”, because in delving into family geneology I had come across a comprehensive written story of her life.  I was impressed by this young woman’s courage and strength.  If you want to start at the beginning click here.   If you have been following her journey scroll down for the next installment of Lizzie and her family’s journey.

 

Valie, Gilford and Bart

Valie, Gilford and Bart

It was in about December of 1909 that Valie, one of Lizzie’s daughters, began to feel ill. Her first symptoms were rheumatic pains in her joints which ached, so that she slept many nights with her feet propped up on the oven door for warmth, as she sat in a larger rocker. Early in April while on an errand for her mother Lizzie, she was caught in the rain and became thoroughly chilled. She spent several days in bed but finally was allowed to go back to school. On the last day of school there was a picnic and they were caught in a heavy rain. She became soaked and for the next few days was very ill. She had improved some when it was time for her mother to go into the mountains to cook for her brother and another man who were building homestead houses. Lizzie took Valie along thinking that the mountain air would do her some good. After a sold week of an earache while in the mountains Valie was returned home to the care of her sister Adaline, who was sixteen. Valie was fourteen at the time. Lizzie then went back to the mountains to cook for the men.

The third day Valie was home she began to feel worse and when her sister brought her lunch, Valie began to hemorrhage from the nose and mouth. Adaline was frightened and sent for the doctor and send Douglas Spencer to the mountains for Lizzie. It was almost dark when he started out and had about fifteen miles to ride on horseback over unfamiliar trails. Adding to his troubles, a blizzard came up and he became lost. Lizzie had already gone to bed in the camp when she heard someone calling out. Claude, nor anyone else could hear the calls, but nevertheless Lizzie had the men get up and light a lantern. They went outside and called out into the darkness. A nearly frozen Douglas Spencer heard the shouts and located the camp.

 

As soon as it was light enough for them to see they started back to Laurel. The doctor had been to see Valie who was still having violent hemorrhages. When Lizzie arrived he told her that he did not know what the problem was but thought that Valie should be taken to Billings, Montana to a hospital. Lizzie asked him if he thought an operation would be necessary to save her life. He told her he didn’t know since he could not diagnose the problem, but that it might be the means of saving some other life. Valie had lost so much blood that the doctor admitted he had little hope she could withstand the trip to the hospital. Lizzie told the doctor that if it was the Lord’s will that she die, that she wanted her to die at home. Early the following morning Valie had another hemorrhage, this being the eighth one. The doctor returned but said he had done all he could. He told Lizzie that she was dying and pulled the sheet up over Valie’s face as he left. Lizzie stood in the kitchen praying for her daughter, when a knock came on the door. There on the porch were two Mormon missionaries. They came in and talked to Lizzie and held a prayer circle in the kitchen. They then entered Valie’s bedroom. Valie who had been only semi-conscious for three days and unconscious all that day responded when one of the elders took her hand and asked if she would like to be administered to. She was able to respond that she would. In the blessing she was given it was promised that she would recover and become a mother in Zion.

 

Valie ended up recovering from her unexplained illness. The same missionaries who had visited her on her “death bed” returned one day and marveled at Valie’s recovery. They shared their story of how they had come into town the night before and had planned out their route for the next day. They had planned to go to the opposite end of town, but the next morning one of them had a strong feeling that they should go the other way. They had only gone a short distance when a neighbor told them that there was a Mormon family nearby and how the daughter Valie was very sick. They were the only Latter Day Saints family living there at the time. The doctor who had told several people that Valie would not live through the day later stated that he believed a higher power must have restored her health. Valie had no further symptoms of that mysterious illness. In later years after a few years of marriage and after several doctors told her she would never have a child, she went on to eventually raise a large family.

 

Edna and George Hanna lived for a while at Red Lodge, Montana, during this time. Addie came up from Laurel and visited with her sister. It was here she became acquainted with Scott Huffman. Later Scott came down to Laurel to visit her. It took them awhile to realize how much they cared for each other, but when they did, they became a very devoted couple. When Valie began to feel better in the fall, the Shepherd family moved to Red Lodge. They were there when Scott and Addie’s first child, a daughter named Thelma Huffman was born on October 11, 1910.

 

The following year her sister Edna and husband George Hannah had a son named Milburn Minor Hannah on July 21, 1911. Brother Claude and his wife Francetta Kelsey were also living at Basin City and their first child, a daughter named Grace Esther Shepherd was born on August 25, 1911. Francetta was a very young wife and mother, only fifteen years old. Her parents Benjamin Franklin and Bolettie Vance Kelsey encouraged her to remain with them that year while Claude worked at Thermopolis on a sewer line and later at Crosby, Wyoming in the coal mines. It was at Thermopolis that Valie met Jim Peacock. Claude invited him to join the family for Thanksgiving dinner. Jim had been born in England and enjoyed hearing the soft English spoken words of Claude’s family. Jim also found himself attracted to Valie and the whole Shepherd family. He spent the next ten years near and around the family, even as they moved about. While Lizzie was at Thermopolis in 1912 she decided to sell the ranch in Burlington. She sold the 160 acres homestead that the family had worked so hard to pay off for $4,000.00.

 

Earnest Wiggett, Lizzie’s oldest son, had taken his family to Olathe, Colorado and was farming there. After the ranch sold, Carl and his family also went to Olathe, as did Burton and Florence Prettyman. A man named Bill Tubbs who was an artist, architect, carpenter and wood craftsman also entered the picture about this time. He had many talents, but didn’t always put them to use and too often sought solace in the bottle. There was much good in Bill though and Lizzie could see this in him. She chose to accept him as he was. There was sometimes resentment in the family when it seemed Lizzie put Bill before her own children. Yet they also recognized that he treated all her children with respect. He taught Claude the carpenter trade, and Bart and Gilford also learned craftsmanship from him as they grew into manhood. Lizzie was past fifty years old when Bill came into her life, and they stayed together until her death.

 

In the spring of 1912 the Shepherd family went north to Lewistown, Montana. Lizzie rented a café on Main Street called the Lewiston Dining Parlor. Lizzie did all the cooking, while Laura Clark and Helen Bolden helped Valie wait on the tables. They ofte had fifty men to serve for meals. Claude was working with his tems for a steam shovel outfit. Bill Tubbs was building some homestead houses. Scott and Addie Huffman were living in Red Lodge, Montana. Scott was doing bookkeeping at the coal mine at Washoe. Their second child, a son named Everett Roland Huffman, was born on August 23, 1912.

Lizzie Roberts Diner Lewiston Montana

Lizzie Roberts Diner Lewiston Montana

In the spring of 1913 the family went up to Denton, Montana. This was a new town about sixty mile northwest of Lewistown. The railroad was just being built into the town and plan were being made to build two large grain elevators. Lizzie felt there would be a lot of work there so she bought a piece of land that had a small old building on it and began to feed boarders.

Claude took a job hauling freight from Stanford where the railroad ended at that point in time. It was a muddy wet spring. The heavy mud on the unimproved roads rolled up around the wagon wheels and made it hard to travel very fast. Claude hauled lumber from Stanford to build the Denton Hotel. Bill Tubbs drew up plans which included a gas lighting system, which he planned, built and kept operating. He and Claude did most of the work. They moved into the hotel just before Thanksgiving, and it became the family’s source of income for the next five years. They had a pump house behind the hotel with a nice well. They had six bedrooms upstairs to rent. There was one bedroom downstairs. The old majestic range stood in the kitchen. Bill built a long convenient counter in the kitchen to serve from and made shelves above it for the dishes. He build a sturdy table on the other side of the room where the pump was located. They were always heating water for some purpose. There was a large reservoir on the old stove. Each room upstairs had a pitcher for water and a basin for washing in, but the wash tub had to be used for a weekly bath. The toilet facility was located on the back of the property, but each bedroom had its own covered convenience tucked under the bed.

Lizzie Dining Hall Denton Hotel Denton Montana

Lizzie Dining Hall Denton Hotel Denton Montana

While they ran the hotel Lizzie enjoyed the luxury of having someone else do the washing. She sent the sheets out weekly to be done. Lizzie was too busy feeing about a hundred men three meals a day. They served the food family style at five big table. Lizzie cooked big meals of meat, potatoes and gravy, and some kind of vegetable. She always made pie for lunch. In the early afternoon, Valie would bake two great big sheet cakes for supper, one white and one chocolate. Valie and Katie took turns waiting on tables. In 1914 Claude brought his family up to Denton and his wife Francetta also helped with serving. Valie and Francetta became close friends and little Grace, at about 18 months was the darling of the family.

 

Young Gilford, as a small boy, built a play house and a garage under the back stairway and put a neat fence all around it. These were good settled years for the family. Lizzie bought two other pieces of property here. Bill Tubbs built a five room house on one of these lots which they rented out for income and later sold to the blacksmith. He built a smaller two room house on the other lot where the family lived later for a short time. Edna came down and stayed with the family during the summer and George came down in the fall and worked on the construction of the bank building. Scott and Addie Huffman’s son Wilfred Scott Huffman added to the family when he was born on October 14, 1914.

To be continued….

Mojo Monday ~ Looking Back & Looking Forward While Staying Present

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William Roberts and Sarah Briggs Family

Maternal great great grandparents William Roberts and Sarah Briggs and children.

Looking Back

lin·e·age

ˈlinēij/
noun

  1. 1.
    lineal descent from an ancestor; ancestry or pedigree.
 
My blog writing, besides coming from those stories that inspire me personally and topics that I wish to share with others, is also sometimes informed by my connection with my Cosmic Cowgirls tribe.  My writing appears not only on my personal blogs, but also on Cosmic Cowgirls member web sites.  Over on the Rodeo of the Soul we are going to be exploring the theme of Lineage.  When I began delving into my own personal ancestry research about a month ago I had no idea that this was part of the new year plan.  It is rather serendipitous how things are falling into place.  
In light of this theme there will be more exploration of ancestry in the coming months, yet it won’t be entirely focused on genealogy per se.  When I think of lineage in broader terms, beyond my own family tree, I think of honoring the wisdom of all women (and men) that came before.  I think of a video I recently watched of Bill Moyers interviewing award winning writer Ursula Le Guin who is about 85 years old now and the wisdom she shared.  I think of suffragists, feminists, women historians, activists, artists…..and onto the legendary work and impacts we are leaving in our wakes for the women and girls to follow us.  There is much to explore in the coming months.  

Looking Forward

At the beginning of a new year most of us not only look back at year we just wrapped up.  We also look forward to the new year, perhaps with dreams, goals and resolutions in mind.  Here are brief introductions to several articles that offered some thoughtful ideas for looking forward to the new year ahead. 

Beyond Carb-Cutting: Resolutions After A Trauma — Sleep, Play, Love – I especially love the simplicity of these heal-the-trauma resolutions and wonder how life might flow if these were your most primal goals for the year?  (Click the link for the full article.)

1. A restful sleep
2. Play, Sing, Dance  

3. Love the One Who Is With You 
4. Be In Nature
5. Ban Perfection (though I might tweak this one to Embrace Imperfection)

2 Choices That Can Make This Next Year The Best Year of Your Life – A fan of the wisdom of Dr. Margaret Paul and her Inner Bonding newsletters and program I found her two suggested choices to be sound advice – Gratitude and Intent to Learn.  (Click the link for the full article.)

If 2014 Tried You or Tested You, Do This – If 2014 was a hard year for you I encourage you to click on over for a visit to this article.  It has the ability to shift perspective.  I especially loved the passage below.  (Click the linked title to access the original article.)

“I believe 2014 was not your worst year, but possibly your greatest.

Your Year of Greatest Strength
Your Year of Greatest Faith
Your Year of Greatest Hope
Your Year of Greatest Patience
Your Year of Greatest Risk
Your Year of Greatest Determination
Your Year of Greatest Courage”

10 Ways To Live Simply In 2015 Inspirational and thoughtful descriptions of ways to simplify.

Staying Present

Simple and wise words from Maya Angelou.

If you must look back Maya Angelou

 

Have you read any inspirational articles that you’d like to share about in the comments?

What are your thoughts about looking back, looking forward and staying present?  

Mojo Monday ~ Love Letters

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Love letters.  I have written my fair share.  As a long time lover of snail mail and years of living long distance from a few of my beaus I have spritzed letters with perfume and imprinted them with ruby red lipstick.  Yet not all love letters need be of the traditional romantic genre. Throughout the years I have also sent hundreds (maybe thousands) of letters and cards to family and friends that were infused with my love.  While living overseas in France for a year and a half, prior to having access to email and phone calls being prohibitively expensive, I wrote many long letters to family members and college friends back home.  I would even find amusing images in magazines and tear them out and make my own envelopes.  Right now just thinking about it makes me want to make some again.  I have not forsaken snail mail as I still adore it as much as I always have, but I do know that the long letters I used to write are more abbreviated notes added to sweet cards I buy from local stores or artists I admire.  

How long has it been since you sent a “love letter” to a family member or friend?  

Learning about a project called More Love Letters that was created by Hannah Brencher has me contemplating again the power of a longer letter to connect, express thoughts and feelings, tell a story, inspire and spread loving energy around the world.  I first learned about Hannah Brencher through her TED talk.  Here is the video where she shares how already being a huge fan of love letters, as this was her own mother’s way of communicating with her long distance, that upon bottoming into depression after college she began writing love letters and leaving them around the city for strangers to find.  

After watching Hannah’s introduction to More Love Letters in her own words I encourage you to visit the web page for this movement.  It has been beautifully created and executed.  

The world doesn’t need another website. It doesn’t need another app or a network.

What it needs is really basic. Simple. Bare-boned.& often forgotten in the race to get followers, likes & status.

LOVE. Pure, old-fashioned, never goes out of style Love. Ridiculous, oozing, cannot pack this thang into 140-characters kind of love. Fearless, bold, unstoppable love.

And that’s where we come in… We’re going to tell you that we leave love letters all over the world for others to be blessed by. We’re going to ask you to write letters for Love Letter Bundles for people you’ll probably never meet.  We’re going to invite you to nominate someone you know for a Love Letter Bundle. You are going to think we are a bit crazy. A tad loopy… But let’s be honest,  you’ve been looking for a website that leaks love all this time.

Fair warning, we could really care less about love letters.

We’re only interested in you. The cracked parts of your own story & how you can use them to lift someone else. It’s about how each of us can morph our lives into love letters… lamps… lanterns… to light the paths of others who needs kindness and love today.

It’s official. Now, more than ever, the world needs more love letters. So get involved. Check out the current letter requests. Join our subscriber list to never miss a beat.

Your cursive means the world to us.

I read through some of the Requests for Letters.  One in particular moved me deeply.  Here is the description taken from the site:

R E N E E

please mail all love letters by July 15, 2014

A loving daughter wrote into us requesting letters for her mother. She wrote “My mother is undergoing an enormous transition period. At the age of 32 and happily married, her husband and my father, passed away in a tragic car accident on Valentine’s day that year. She was left with 5 kids under the age of 7 to raise on her own. My twin brother and I were just 8 months old. My mom just turned 60 and finally retired after 28 years of bouncing around jobs to provide for her family. The first time in her life she has no kids to take care of, no job to report to, and she is finally free. And she is scared. No one needs her, which is what most of her identity has been defined by. My mom needs a love letter that will inspire her to live again and finally, learn to take care of and love herself.” Join us in writing a letter of love & encouragement to this awesome mother.

 

PLEASE MAIL ALL LOVE LETTERS TO:

Renee’s bundle

c/ o Hilary C.

4505 Avenue A

Austin, TX 78751

Whether or not you feel inclined or inspired to join the More Love Letters official movement, consider right now making a commitment to send some love letters.  How about you send one today or this week?  How about a commitment to sending one or more a month?  Will you send it to someone you know or will you leave it on a chair in a cafe, on a shelf at a store, in a dressing room, or on a park bench?  The ripple effects of sending out love on a physical piece of paper can have more impact and power than you can fully grasp.  

If you do send out a letter (or two or three or four…) consider sharing about how taking such action impacted you.  What feelings did it invoke?  What stories unfolded?  What did you find yourself sharing?  Where did you leave it or send it?  Did you send it to someone you know or did you prefer to leave it for a stranger?

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Mojo Monday ~ What We Can Learn from Anger

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This particular article first appeared in my blog back in December of 2008.  I chose to share it again as I have been struggling with increased feelings of frustration and anger in recent months.  I decided to revisit this topic in an effort to contemplate and evaluate my own feelings.  I thought it might be of value to you too.

 

 

Anger is an emotion that is often viewed as negative and in some religious circles as sinful even. Yet anger is a human emotion, just like fear, happiness and sadness. Should anger be suppressed or ignored? What do we do with this emotion?

Let us consider a few individuals who are recognized for their contributions to peace. The idea of a person being both peaceful and angry may seem contradictory and incompatible. Yet I believe it is helpful and even encouraging for anyone who struggles with being angry to recognize that even some of the most peaceful people to walk this earth have experienced anger and expressed it.

Jesus
When Jesus cleared the temple of the moneychangers and animal-sellers, He showed great emotion and anger (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; John 2:13-22). Jesus’ emotion was described as “zeal” for God’s house (John 2:17). Another time Jesus showed anger was in the synagogue of Capernaum. When the Pharisees refused to answer Jesus’ questions, “He . . . looked round about them with anger” (Mark 3:5). This verse goes on to give the reason for His anger: “the hardness of their hearts.”

 

Mahatma (Great Soul) Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)

“I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world. It is not that I do not get angry. I do not give vent to anger. I cultivate the quality of patience as angerlessness, and, generally speaking, I succeed.… It is a habit that everyone must cultivate and must succeed in forming by constant practice.”

 

Mother Teresa

“When I see waste here, I feel angry on the inside. I don’t approve of myself getting angry. But it’s something you can’t help after seeing Ethiopia.” — Washington 1984.

 

 
Daisaku Ikeda (January 2, 1928-)

Ikeda is President of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a Buddhist association which claims 12 million members in more than 190 countries and territories, and founder of several educational, cultural and research institutions. Ikeda is a peace activist, prolific writer, poet, educator, interpreter of Nichiren Buddhism and environmentalist. He has travelled to more than 60 countries to hold discussions with many political, cultural, and educational figures, as well as to teach. In his book For the Sake of Peace Ikedawrites in the preface “I am against war! I am absolutely opposed to it!” He continues on later with “I am determined to fight against anyone who supports or advocates war. I will fight the dark, demonic forces of destruction. Another book by Ikeda called Fighting for Peace is a collection of his meditations on war and peace. In a description from his own web site the book is described as expressing, from personal experience, his deep loathing of war and his anger at those in positions of authority who would sacrifice ordinary people in pursuit of selfish ends.

In learning to better embrace and accept myself, I have needed to recognize and accept my anger and even my rage. This has been a huge part of growing and becoming more authentic and real. I grew up repressing any anger I felt. Scary feelings like anger were stuffed away and suppressed. My fears of “rocking the boat” and of not being liked felt very overpowering. There is no doubt that I had the people-pleasing disease.

The book Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Health and Wellness by Kathy Freston addresses anger and I had one of those “Aha moments” upon reading this section this summer.

Freston writes, “According to Dr. John Sarno, the emotion we are most averse to is rage, anger that has gathered steam from being kept down and locked away. A lot of people who think of themselves as good people — Sarno called them “goodists,” because they tend to be very much tied to an image of themselves as nice and good people — do not at all feel comfortable with such a “distasteful” and potentially out-of=control emotion as rage. If something happens in their life that sparks intense anger, these people tend not to deal with it, because they don’t like what it brings up in them…

…A goodist might well submerge his true feelings because he doesn’t want to rock the boat. He convinces himself that he has “let it go” when, in fact, by not allowing himself to experience his authentic emotions, they have just done unconscious. When we don’t think we can handle something in a way that feels safe and manageable -ie., if we speak up, we might lose a relationship or job or, even worse, be thought of as a bad person — our survival mechanism kicks in and buries the feeling in the recesses of our psyche. Those disowned feeling become part of our shadow.”

The book then delves into how suppressing the shadow becomes the goal. “As Dr, Sarno put it, the brain is in cahoots with the body in such a way that when the repulsive emotion starts to come up, the body will quickly conjure an intense localized pain or discomfort that is big enough to make us forget what we were beginning to feel. Basically, the brain says, “Whoa! I can’t let myself feel that rage. It threatens my identity as a good and nice person. Good and nice people do not have rage; it is unseemly and out of control.” The book points out that the mind and body will work together to save us from disturbing experiences. It also points out that since we prefer to see ourselves in a certain light “we tuck away what we think is repulsive or frightening or disagreeable. But, because or nature is to evolve and become ever more enlightened, the part of us that is dark will constantly try to come to light.”

Further on the author explains that “Once we make peace with our demons — be they rage or fear or shame, and we all have them — we become more fully integrated human beings…

…When you go about this process of allowing your emotions without judgment, you will be led into your Truth. Ask yourself if there is anger — rage even — that you need to connect with and then heal. Allow yourself to drop into deep sadness or grief even if your normal instinct is to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and “get over it.”

Ironically I also came across a wonderful section on anger in The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Creativity by Julia Cameron. I say “ironically” because here is a book about creativity. Yet really this book is about so much more.

“Anger is fuel. We feel it and we want to do something. Hit someone, break something, throw a fit, smash a fist into the wall, tell those bastards. But we are nice people, and what we do with our anger is stuff it, deny it, bury it, block it, hide it, lie about it, medicate it, muffle it, ignore it. We do everything but listen to it.

Anger is meant to be listened to. Anger is a voice, a shout, a plea, a demand. Anger is meant to be respected. Why? Because anger is a map. Anger shows us what our boundaries are. Anger shows us where we want to go. It lets us see where we’ve been and lets us know when we haven’t liked it. Anger points the way, not just the finger. In the recovery of a blocked artist, anger is a sign of health.

Anger is meant to be acted upon. It is not meant to be acted out. Anger points the direction. We are meant to use anger as fuel to take the actions we need to move where our anger points us. With a little thought, we can usually translate the message that our anger is sending us.

‘Blast him! I could make a better film than that!’ (This anger says: you want to make movie. You need to learn how.)

‘I can’t believe it! I had this idea for a play three years ago and she’s gone and written it.’ (This anger says: stop procrastinating. Ideas don’t get opening nights. Finished plays do. Start writing.)

‘That’s my strategy he’s using. This is incredible! I’ve been ripped off! I knew I should have pulled that material together and copyrighted it.’ (This anger says: it’s time to take your own ideas seriously enough to treat them well.)

When we feel anger, we are often very angry that we feel anger. Damn anger!! It tells us we can’t get away with our old life any longer. It tells us that old life is dying. It tells us we are being reborn, and birthing hurts. The hurt makes us angry.

Anger is the firestorm that signals the death of our old life. Anger is the fuel that propels us into our new one. Anger is a tool, not a master. Anger is meant to be tapped into and drawn upon. Used properly, anger is use-full.

Sloth, apathy, and despair are the enemy. Anger is not. Anger is our friend. Not a nice friend. Not a gentle friend. But a very, very loyal friend. It will always tell us when we have been betrayed. It will always tell us when we have betrayed ourselves. It will always tell us that it is time to act in our own best interests.”

Anger is not he action itself. It is action’s invitation.”

I also found wisdom about anger in Ed and Deb Shapiro’s article entitled “Ducks Don’t Do Anger” which appeared in the October 30, 2008 issue of the Huffington Post. They write “Trying to eradicate anger is like trying to box with our own shadow, it doesn’t work. Getting rid of it implies either expressing it and creating emotional damage, or repressing it, which just suppresses it until it erupts at a later time. Getting to know and make friends with anger is essential. To make real change we have to change the way we think and react. This is growing roses out of rotting compost, transforming fire into constructive action, using the passion but without the destruction. We need to see what is beneath the anger, what hurt, longing or fear is trying to make itself heard. There may be feelings of rejection, grief or loneliness, so if we repress anger or pretend it isn’t there then all these other feelings get repressed and ignored as well.”

What I have certainly learned from my explorations of facing my own anger and rage is how self destructive this emotion can be if it is suppressed, stuffed and pointed inwards. I am not one to lash out. I have always been one to internalize such feelings. The “goodist” in me was always so afraid of conflict and confrontation. The difficult lesson has been in learning how to constructively communicate my anger in a healthy way. If something upsets me or makes me angry I am learning to make better choices in expressing it. Usually for me it is as simple as speaking up. For example I have learned that telling my husband that I am upset that he didn’t help out in the morning is a much healthier approach, than is harboring my anger which doesn’t resolve anything. It is only by speaking up respectively and sharing my thoughts and feelings that he understands what I am thinking and how I am feeling. Only then can he respond and perhaps do something differently.

Activity ~ Make a list of things that make you angry. Include anything and everything. Here is an example:

Rude drivers

Toilet seat left up

Slow computer

Kids whining and arguing

Television on too loud

Getting to work late

Being interrupted by your spouse or children

Waiting in line

Next review the list and consider why these things make you angry. Sometimes what we think is making us angry, really isn’t the real culprit. Let’s consider rude drivers and toilet seats left up. The key here might be that you are angry that people are not considerate of others. Ask yourself if you are wanting and needing more consideration in your life from your family, your friends and perhaps most of all from yourself. The slow computer might really be more of a reflection of your frustration with not having enough time, or rather feeling like you don’t have enough time. Perhaps you need more “you” time. More time to just be and relax. How can you schedule back and make that happen? If the anger kicks in due to kids whining and arguing, the television being on too loud, and being interrupted by a spouse and children, this could also be a sign that you are in need of more silence in your life and again more private time.

Suggested Reading ~ The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.

Here is a long excerpt from the beginning of Chapter 1 entitled The Challenge of Anger

“Anger is a signal, and one worth listening to. Our anger may be a message that we are being hurt, that our rights are being violated, that our needs or wants are not being adequately met, or simply that something is not right. our anger may tell us that we are not addressing an important emotional issue in our lives, or that too much of our self–our beliefs, values, desires, or ambitions–is being compromised in a relationship. Our anger may be a signal that we are doing more and giving more than we can comfortable to or give. Or our anger may warn us that others are doing too much for us, at the expense of our own competence and growth. Just as physical pain tells us to take our hand off the hot stove, the pain of anger preserves the very integrity of our self. our anger can motivate us to say “no” to the ways in which we are defined by others and “yet” to the dictates of our inner self.

Women, however, have long been discouraged from the awareness and forthright expression of anger. Sugar and spice are the ingredients from which we are made. We are the nurturers, the soothers, the peacemakers and the steadiers of rocked boats. It is our job to please, protect and placate the world. We may hold relationships in place as if our lives depended on it.

The taboos against our feeling and expressing anger are so powerful that even knowing when we are angry is not a simple matter. When a woman shows her anger, she is likely to be dismissed as irrational or worse.

Why are angry women so threatening to others? If we are guilty, depressed, or self-doubting, we stay in place. We do not take action except against our own selves and we are unlikely to be agents of personal and social change. In contrast, angry women may change and challenge the lives of us all, as witnessed by the past decade of feminism. And change is anxiety-arousing and difficult business for everyone, includingthose of us who are actively pushing for it.

Thus, we too learn to fear our own anger, not only because it brings about the disapproval of others, but also because it signals the necessity for change. We may begin to ask ourselves questions that serve to block or invalidate our own experience of anger: ‘Is my anger legitimate?’ ‘Do I have a right to be angry?’ ‘What good will it do?’ These questions can be excellent ways of silencing ourselves and shutting off our anger.

Let us question these questions. Anger is neither legitimate nor illegitimate, meaningful nor pointless. Anger simply is. To ask, ‘Is my anger legitimate?’ is similar to asking, ‘Do I have a right to be thirsty?'”

A Poem ~ Can You See Me?

Standard

Can You See Me

Can You See Me?

who are you

and where

did you come from

I am just a mongrel

white girl

with a blurry and

undefined culture

I seek connection

and sisterhood

my skin may be white

on the outside

but I feel

the pain

of all

my sisters

I have deeply

felt the losses

and struggles

of those

who have come before

since I

was born

But your words

stake ownership

and my perceived

whiteness

 separates

me

from you

breaking

my heart

and our community

How can we

be a tribe

when such lines

are drawn

when all I seek

is love

and belonging

I see you

you are my sister

Can you

see me?

Concentric Rings_edited-1