50,000-59,999 SparkPoints
VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

Smile at Fear

Thursday, October 14, 2010

If we want there to be peace in the world, we have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid in our hearts, to find the soft spot and stay with it. We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility. That's the true practice of peace.
-- Pema Chodron, from Practicing Peace in Times of War

I just HAD to share some information about the Teaching I'll be attending in San Francisco:

The venerable teacher: (various menu items are interesting...especially the video at the Gampo Abbey menu item, narrated by Pema Chodron) and her biography:

Gampo Abbey, Nova Scotia, which she directs:

NUMBER ONE on my "bucket list" is to go to Gampo Abbey for a six-month retreat, an "opportunity to make full use of my precious human let go of habitual patterns and be free...and to become part of bringing peace to a troubled world." I hope I'll be ready for such a life-changing experience before this life is over!

Ani Pema's books on

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROBINSNEWNEST 10/25/2010 11:19AM

    Oh, my gosh, I just checked out the site! What a wonderful experience! I wish I had found this earlier to do the long distance learning via computer. Thank you for sharing this, Maha. Please post more...

love to you --

Report Inappropriate Comment
PUDLECRAZY 10/20/2010 5:16PM

    You have Pema Chodron as your teacher? How wonderful! I wish I could join you. I am looking forward to hearing about your time with her.


Report Inappropriate Comment
SLIMMERJESSE 10/20/2010 11:13AM

    Have a wonderful adventure, Maha. Best wishes.

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 10/18/2010 10:18PM

    Dear Maha, Another inspirational blog. Pema Chodron is such an amazing lady. Vaya con Dios. Looking forward to hearing about your SF experience. Peace always, Elaine emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 10/17/2010 5:06PM

    The retreat sounds wonderful. You can do anything
and I so admire your loving spirit.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FRANCESCANAZ 10/16/2010 3:21PM

    Muchas gracias por compartir mi amiga. That reminds me, the students enjoyed your music DVD mucho! I'll put it in the mail this week. Paz, Francesca emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 10/15/2010 12:40PM

    Wonderful bucket list item and can't wait to hear about your experiences.
I like the idea of 'softening' to bring peace. Rings true.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 10/15/2010 7:14AM

    Such a wise, wise person...! You are doing SO many things that seem to be on your "bucket list" these days and I'm SO excited for this opportunity you are jumping for! Go for it! :-)


Report Inappropriate Comment
PENNYAN45 10/15/2010 5:14AM

    My wishes to you are for a spiritual experience this coming weekend that leaves you feeling renewed and inspired.

Love and hugs,


Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 10/14/2010 9:37PM

    Peace be with you.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 10/14/2010 8:11PM

    Have read one of her books -- must agree, she is fascinating and her "retreat" in Nova Scotia looks most appealing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGANNIE 10/14/2010 3:24PM

    Looking at Pema Chodron's kindly face brings a sense of peace.

Enjoy your ime in San Fransisco.

emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
TIPPINGPOINT 10/14/2010 3:12PM

    Have a great weekend.
On Friday I will be doing some gardening for my eldest daughter and will make a point of making it a meditative day breathing fresh air and doing simple work.
I feel inspired. Its what I need right now.
Best Wishes emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUGARSMOM2 10/14/2010 12:58PM

  you can and will do anything you want to do . you have a great heart . smile the world loves you . enjoy the world and what it has to offer . great job great joy . emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 10/14/2010 11:30AM

    I know that you will gain a great deal from attending these teachings, my friend, because you go with an open and loving heart. Enjoy ... and soak it all in.


Report Inappropriate Comment

A Psalm to Life....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This wonderful poem of Longfellow's, a strong affirmation to life, arrived this morning, as I prepare to depart for San Francisco (airport tomorrow morning at 6:00am) to attend a teaching of the venerable Pema Chodron and then have several days with dear friends in the Bay Area, heading back to AR Oct 25. There will be a PJ party at Sandra's tonight (c'mon...the more the merrier!) to begin this wonderful adventure! She has graciously offered to drop me at the airport at that ungodly hour...AND pick me up as well!

Me'n my dear friend Sandra5898 in the primroses

"To act, that each tomorrow find us farther than today," and yes, "time is fleeting," we all know that we should "trust no Future, howe'er pleasant...all these thoughts from the poem, among others, reminded me of the ever-present recollections of this summer's I travel now again, this time airbound. Here are three random glimpses of the sublime summer, still a fresh part of my REAL ongoing celebration of life--

Yellow Springs, OH was big enough to contain me'n WildHoneyPie1 (AND PudleCrazy!)...just barely

My home for three months is hiding out in southern IN

With our Treks on a ferry on Lake Champlain, FrancescaNaz and I are heading to Burlington, VT to meet DokeyOkey for a biking adventure

As we all bounce between the dualities of life...the joy and the sadness, laughter and tears, heat and cold (you get the picture), the underlying vibration of Longfellow's words carry us forward through it all. I offer today's gift from Panhala to us all, as my "hasta luego."

People of Chile celebrating the rescue of the 33 miners!


Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!--
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,-- act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~
(Voices of the Night)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANCESCANAZ 10/16/2010 3:19PM

    Te amo mi amiga. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
PENNYAN45 10/15/2010 5:19AM

    You are surely leaving your "footprints on the sands of time" with all that you give in your life.

Have a good time in San Francisco.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 10/14/2010 9:51PM

    I always love your blogs. Thanks for sharing the poetry!

Report Inappropriate Comment
AZIMAT 10/14/2010 11:23AM

    Oh, you are such a little vagabond. Safe travel wishes to you from yours truly and Salik!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 10/14/2010 11:06AM

    Thanks for making my day (again)! Have an AWESOME time in San Francisco!!!


Report Inappropriate Comment
DENI_ZEN 10/14/2010 10:54AM

    What a joyful and joy-filled blog entry, Maha! Thanks for bringing a Sparkle to our morning :) It was soggy here, but not anymore! - Sandi emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
ABURRIS2 10/14/2010 10:36AM

    Beautiful and sweet. Thanks for sharing some of your motivation and gratitude. Inspiring!
May Peace go with you on this next adventure.
You sure get around!


Report Inappropriate Comment
SHERYLDS 10/14/2010 10:06AM

    Wishing you a wonderful trip loaded with fond memories

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISS_VIV 10/14/2010 9:23AM

    Ah the poetry of life. Thanks for posting.
May your trip be joyous and rewarding. I'll wave as you fly over and know that you will have a great time in the City.

Much love
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
FLORIDASUN 10/14/2010 9:13AM

    Love your blog today as I ALWAYS do...peace be with you during your travels, have fun, laugh hard and memories make! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 10/14/2010 8:55AM

    "Let us, then, be up and doing"

emoticonMaha, for another reminder to live this glorious life.

Safe and mystical travels!
emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOR2BFIT 10/14/2010 8:31AM

    'Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,-- act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!'

Who knew Longfellow was a Buddhist?
Love the poem! Have a great time in SF, and enjoy Pema Chodron.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 10/14/2010 7:36AM

    "Life is real! Life is earnest!"

Yes, yes, YES! Did my own variation of this ode in my Butternut Valley blog...a little tongue in "cheek"!


Report Inappropriate Comment
LYNNANN43 10/14/2010 7:30AM

    This is a GORGEOUS poem, MAHA!

It should be the SparkPeople Creed!!!

emoticon for sharing it as you get ready for your next journey. Have a wonderful trip!


Report Inappropriate Comment

Thailand's Children of the Trains

Friday, October 08, 2010

While we affluent overweight Americans -- as well as those of us from other industrialized nations -- try to resist heaping another portion of dinner on our plates or buying an ice cream cone, street children in Thailand beg for money to buy food to survive. This week's KarmaTube offering about the children of the trains puts things in perspective....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANCESCANAZ 10/28/2010 9:16AM

    Que bonitos son estos ninos. Que triste es su vida. Gracias otra vez por compartir.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOR2BFIT 10/26/2010 8:25AM

    That was a beautiful video. It's amazing how upbeat everyone in that film was, even with the incredible difficulties they have endured. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 10/18/2010 11:11PM

    Every child should have a childhood! Thank you for sharing this inspiring story. Sadly there are children living in the streets all over the world. Awareness helps spur us to action. Bless you Maha. Elaine

Report Inappropriate Comment
TX_3XDAD 10/12/2010 9:42AM

    What's almost equally amazing is how many AMERICANS are in similar straights. I talked with the food pantry folks in my town, and they've had weeks where they didn't have enough nutritious food to give to needy families.

I think there should be an option in every restaurant, before the bill is presented, for people to donate what they'd otherwise spend on dessert to feed the hungry. Everywhere.

Just saying.

Report Inappropriate Comment
NANABABY5 10/12/2010 9:22AM

    Definitely puts many things into perspective. Thank-you for sharing this video and blog .

Only a transparent sincerity in man and among nations can usher in a transformed world.......


Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 10/11/2010 4:41PM

    As always, my huge struggle and constant conundrum is how to spread myself between so many worthy causes ... it's so overwhelming at times. Then there's the issue of how much of my time and money should be spread around the U.S. versus other countries (such as my dear sweet boy, Roberto in Chile).

I totally understand your propensity toward a heavy heart with the universe's predicaments ...


Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 10/9/2010 3:48AM

    We are so blessed, yet some cursed at the same time...for so many to be so oblivious to the preciousness of life and all that sustains life.

Thx for the reminder...this gives one pause, to breathe and savor our lives!

And remember to pay it forward!


Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 10/8/2010 7:56PM

    Something to think about. Many of us are so blessed in this country.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GOANNA2 10/8/2010 7:18PM

    Thank you Maha...
Puts thins in perspective
emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SHERYLDS 10/8/2010 7:17PM

    we are getting to the point where we don't have to go overseas to see poverty. there are plenty of people in this country that are getting desperate.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGANNIE 10/8/2010 3:59PM

    A very sobering blog Maha.


Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 10/8/2010 12:32PM

    emoticonfor sharing the video.
It's heartening to see the Library Train and know that a few of the children are receiving attention.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DENI_ZEN 10/8/2010 9:50AM

    It surely does! Thanks for a sad, yet heartening, window on these children's lives, Maha. - Sandi emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

Have I caused you any pain....

Thursday, October 07, 2010


The sadness I have caused any face
by letting a stray word
strike it,

any pain
I have caused you,
what can I do to make us even?
Demand a hundred fold of me - I'll pay it.

During the day I hold my feet accountable
to watch out for wondrous insects and their friends.

Why would I want to bring horror
into their extraordinary

Magnetic fields draw us to Light; they move our limbs and thoughts.
But it is still dark; if our hearts do not hold a lantern,
we will stumble over each other,

huddled beneath the sky
as we are.

~ Rumi ~
(Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky)

I've shared biographical information about the great Jelaluddin Rumi in past posts, but I've never shared anything on Daniel Ladinsky:

Daniel Ladinsky is an American poet. He was born and raised in the Midwest United States. For six years he made his home in a spiritual community in western India, where he worked in a rural clinic free to the poor, and lived with the intimate disciples and family of Meher Baba. In introductions to his Hafez poetry, Ladinsky notes that he offers interpretations of the poet Hafez, rather than translations. He believes that it is more important to convey the emotions in Hafez's poetry than to keep the same rhythm in the English language, and he uses the most simple words possible.
Praise and Criticism

Since the release of Ladinsky's first book, I Heard God Laughing, his ostensible renderings of Hafiz have become widely quoted. The fact that Ladinsky's poems do not actually represent Hafez' work was a source of embarrassment for Dalton McGuinty, the Premier of Ontario, when it was discovered that the poem McGuinty had recited from Ladinsky's book at a Nowruz celebration in Toronto had no corresponding Persian original.

Many point out that Ladinsky's poems are originals, and not translations or interpretations of Hafez. Christopher Shackle describes The Gift as "not so much a paraphrase as a parody of the wondrously wrought style of the greatest master of Persian art-poetry."

Ladinsky's work has garnered positive commentary from Akbar S. Ahmed and been favorably endorsed by The Christian Science Monitor writer, Alexandra Marks, and has been quoted in contemporary Muslim American non-fiction. Some hail Ladinsky's contemporary work for creating an immediate access to the spirit and intention of Hafiz' verse. Ladinsky authored a short essay in the form of an review, entitled My Portrait of Hafiz, that offers a description of the process and background of his work. The Islamic Foundation of North America has used Ladinsky's The Gift in a children's Islamic Literature curriculum.. He has also reviewed contemporary poetry, such as Full on Arrival.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLASALLE 10/10/2010 1:43PM

    What an amazing poem!!! You always manage to come up with a new one to inspire me, my dear friend.


Report Inappropriate Comment
TX_3XDAD 10/8/2010 11:03AM

    It's a poem powerful in its simplicity. The plea for forgiveness is timely: the Jewish Day of Atonement was just a couple of weeks ago, a time when Jews must ask for forgiveness for their transgressions against others and make what amends they must not just to the person, but to themselves, to modify their behaviors so as not to commit those transgressions against others in the future.

Love your posts, and thanks for reading mine!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 10/8/2010 3:55AM

    I had a college psychology professor who said that his goal each day when he awoke was to do a little harm as possible to others as he made his way through the day. He taught Sensitivity to Children. As long as students completed the work he required he gave an "A" to every student as he detested the grading system.

Wonderful verse...both here AND on my nature blog! Thx so much 'Maha! :-)


Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 10/7/2010 10:14PM

    Wonderful. Thank you. I love your blogs.

Report Inappropriate Comment
WALKINGANNIE 10/7/2010 1:46PM

    Thank you for another beautiful blog and for broadening my horizons.

emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
KALIGIRL 10/7/2010 1:05PM

    Here's to not stumbling and lessening each other's pain.
Namaste my friend.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLIMMERJESSE 10/7/2010 10:30AM

    Beautiful. Thank you!

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 10/7/2010 10:17AM

    Thank you again, Maha, for all the beauty you bring to this site and into my world. Have a fabulous, wonderful, better than ever day!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JUGE300000 10/7/2010 8:10AM

    I enjoyed this poem.


Report Inappropriate Comment
DENI_ZEN 10/7/2010 7:58AM

    Ladinsky sounds like an outstanding translator. That's an art requiring thorough understanding of meaning as well as semantics, and without that knowledge - or if the translator cannot manage to convey it - the work remains in a foreign tongue. - Sandi emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

Yummers: Nobby Apple Cake

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

About a week ago, I got this recipe off of someone's(???) blog, and I don't have a CLUE who it was. Anyone? I'd love to give credit to whoever I got it from because my housemate and I LOVED IT!

YAY! WILLOW49 posted below...and it was her blog that I lifted the nobby cake from! THANKS SO MUCH Willow (bowing and scraping)! I'm going to make it again this weekend (many pears to use!), and this time I'm going to cut down on the sugar by 1/2-1/3.

Molasses is a key ingredient...and not only does it add a distinctive taste to this cake, but blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that is actually good for you. Unlike refined white sugar and corn syrup, which are stripped of virtually all nutrients except simple carbohydrates, or artificial sweeteners like saccharine or aspartame, which not only provide no useful nutrients but have been shown to cause health problems in sensitive individuals, blackstrap molasses is a healthful sweetener that contains significant amounts of a variety of minerals that promote your health: It is an excellent source of manganese and copper, a very good source of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium and a good source of vitamin B6 and selenium.

I looked up the word nobby and it's British slang, and means fashionable or elegant; stylish; chic. On the other hand "knobby" is a rounded projection from a surface, such as a lump on a tree trunk. The way the diced fruit projects out of the surface makes me think that the latter spelling, Knobby Apple Cake, would more accurately describe this dessert.

Nobby Apple Cake


3/4 c. sugar (I used granulated cane juice crystals, aka Sucanat)
2 T. butter, softened
1/4 c. blackstrap molasses
1 egg, beaten (if I don't have eggs I substitute 2Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp. water)
3 c. chopped apples (I have also used pears)
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1 t. vanilla

1 c. flour (I use 100% WW)
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda


Cream sugar and butter; add molasses, beaten egg and mix well. Add apples, nuts and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and combine well with apple mixture. It's an odd-looking concoction, very thick.

Spread evenly into a greased 8 or 9" square pan. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes (I double the recipe and use a 9"x13" dish; it takes more like 45-55 minutes). Serve hot or cold.

My housemate and I both love this.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MZZCHIEF 2/9/2011 6:25PM

    I bet I can make this one with some "fake" flour.
Thanks for the heads up!
: )

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLASALLE 10/10/2010 1:40PM

    This is definitely apple and pear season, so this looks like a very versatile recipe. Our organic produce that we get each week has lots of new apples that I've not tried before and we're requesting them to try new types. Have you ever heard of Sansa or Tsagura apples? We've also been getting some great pears, several different types.

I just may be using this recipe tonight!!! I bet you can switch the nuts also ... I have some awesome organic pecans that would probably be every bit as good as walnuts, although we have those too!!!



Report Inappropriate Comment
CARRAND 10/7/2010 10:29PM

    Makes me wish I wasn't gluten intolerant. I could maybe make it with rice floor or some other GF substitute.

Report Inappropriate Comment
PEACEFULONE 10/7/2010 10:05AM

    Looking forward to making this for family this weekend. Thank you for sharing!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
PUDLECRAZY 10/7/2010 6:37AM

    Oh my, that looks yummy! I was picturing nobby to be chunky (ergo full of delightful apple lumps) - thanks for looking it up. I have copied the recipe and saved it, hopefully to make this evening. You know me - I'll make it with just the apples and molasses as sweetener.

Thanks for the post.


Report Inappropriate Comment
LYNNANN43 10/6/2010 11:29PM

    Sounds so YUMMY!

I just copied & pasted the recipe. I'm going to make it tomorrow!


Report Inappropriate Comment
WILLOW49 10/6/2010 11:03PM

    I posted this recipe! Glad you like it :)

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 10/6/2010 10:18PM

    Can't vouch for how close this resembles our recipe, but this is one of our favorites! Yum is RIGHT! :-)


Report Inappropriate Comment
GIVEUP30 10/6/2010 10:02PM

    sound great I like using molasses
sorry don't know owner

Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 Last Page