An Americana Food Moment

If you wondered what happened to us this week or wondered why there were no blogs, here is what happened. I was NOT buried under our compost pile, though this could happen. I was not unable to type due to rose thorns in my fingers though my hands do look a bit well used right now, since I never have found any garden gloves I really like. And no, I was not taken sick by one too many krispy kreme donuts. William hid his stash in his room to prevent that.

We were just experiencing a 21st century technology glitch

Our high speed internet server was down for the entire state of New Hampshire for part of Tuesday, all of Wednesday and until days end Thursday. It is always a shock to realize how dependent I am on all this new technology. So much of the flow of Green Hope Farm is via e-mail and now I am also a blog addict.

With a resumption of service comes a resumption of news from here.

We had a party for Jayn Bier who left Green Hope Farm to go to Virginia on a more permanent basis. Our surprise bon voyage party had the theme of Americana heartland junk food. As you may have noticed, we have a number of staff that were not born and raised in the United States. They also happen to be fabulous cooks. They have many, many, many questions about our strange foods. All it took was one potluck somewhere in America and the questions began. How is jello a salad? Does every meat need a casing? Where does all that orange dye come from?

We had been threatening to make Deb, native of Great Britain, sample the worst of American heartland cuisine for a long long time. Yessenia, whom we have convinced to stay at her shipping station until labor begins, also needed this Americana inservice. Jayn was born and raised on a farm in Western Pennsylvania and has many a story about unusual jello salads. Her going away party seemed the perfect moment to put on an Americana spread for the edification of all involved.


Here is Jayn first observing the spread we assembled for her.


Here is Jayn using her best hand model skills to show off Patricia’s green bean with onion ring casserole. Vicki’s Illinois style deviled eggs are in the background.


Here are littl’ franks that have been simmering all morning in grape jelly and B-B-Q sauce. Jane Taupier made scratch frosted brownies. These were a little bit too up scale for this do but we suffered through eating the whole plate of them. Note Yessenia’s contribution of roast chicken, also a problem. The chicken was naturally raised, marinated by Yessenia in garlic and rosemary, and the words broasted or fried had never been used in associated with her chicken. Obviously she needs remedial help before her next Americana food effort.


During one of Jayn’s trips to Virginia we received two cans of potted possum in the mail from her. This was our answer. Note problem food in upper right hand corner. Deb’s contribution to the luncheon was also much too nice. She made amazing scalloped potatoes in one of her husband’s beautiful dishes. Clearly, even after ALL our explanations, she really didn’t get what we were talking about. Maybe next time she will do better and serve us frozen hash browns drizzled in some mixture of sour cream and condensed soup. Really, we tried very hard to offer tips! It was just hard to dumb her down.


It’s long been a goal to mix Jayn’s favorite junk food snack of pretzels with jello and this lovely does an admirable job with a pretzel crust and then many many layers of jello, marshmallow, cream cheese and whipped topping. It was very popular, even with Deb.


We felt that Jayn would naturally need some road food for her trip south so we sent her off with a few goodies. It will be good for her to have orange dye # 43 all over herself to remind her of us!

More on the Family River or Farewell to Rusty Plumbing

I want to clarify some things about my experience of the wisdom of my family river as discussed in my blog “The Emperor’s New Clothes” several days ago. Let me explain why.

A dear and precious soul e-mailed me to tell of an experience in which her mother responded to horrific news of life threatening illness with talk of shopping plans. This precious soul has the most enormous heart and tried most earnestly to experience love in her mom’s response. Out of her sharing, I realized how much I needed to further explain what happened for me when retrieving the divine wisdom of my family blood line.

To back up a little bit, several years into the ongoing death threats against my children and me from one of my siblings, my parents and other relatives remained unwillingness to stop funding the terrorist or help in any way resolve the problem. I decided to let go of my entire family of origin and move on. My process of letting go began with an expectation that my parents would help. This became a hope that they would help and then transformed again into a realization that this branch of the cavalry was not coming.

This process was one of realizing these souls were just other people and not my true eternal parents. In the years after I let go, I came to experience God as my mother and father in a concrete way. When my earth dad died, I realized that I actually did not experience his soul as anything but another soul I had gone to earth school with. Given how many people told me how sorry I would be not to reconcile with my dad before his death, I was actually relieved and joyful to discover how close I felt to my eternal God parents and how okay I felt about my dad moving on with his own soul’s journey.

Coming to this place involved a very, very, very long process for me and one I will no doubt go on and on about sometime in a future blog. However, it seems important for you to know that I had let go of my relationship with my family of origin when I experienced my family river’s wisdom.

When I experienced the wisdom of my family river, no one in my family of origin was present nor did it make me want to reconnect with anyone in my family.

I had been asking God why I picked my family of origin. Did I owe them terrible karma that required me to run the gauntlet with them until the end of time? And if so, what was I to do for them? In answer to my questions, I was given an experience of feeling this profound love for God while being shown how this knack for experiencing great intimacy with God was flowing in my family river. What actually happened was I glimpsed a great great great grandfather loving God in the same way and then I experienced this love myself. I saw how anyone in my family of origin can retrieve this strand of love and how it is SUCH a valuable gift that my jumping into the inferno of my family of origin was worth it.

This love for God isn’t anything any of my family of origin is necessarily noticing, enjoying, or seeking nor do they need to for me to access this gift. But it made me understand why I picked this family river. It’s an extraordinarily wonderful thing to love God like that and the vibrational pattern for this kind of intimacy is in the family genetics, thanks to this great great great grandfather. It is so amazing that all the family river could find this love if they want, but whether they do or not is not my business.

To sum up, the gift of my family river has nothing to do with the personalities in my family and isn’t something that even involved these personalities. I did not have to go through their personalities to access this love experience.

When my experiences led me to let go of my family of origin, I realized how one of the problems with our cultural ideas of family is that it limits the ways we think we can experience God’s love for us. We can sometimes believe that the mama and papa love flow we want and deserve must come through the faucet of our earth parents. If this faucet of love is rusty and choked, as it was in my family of origin, we try to view whatever is coming out with optimistic eyes. The problem with this is that God wants to give us more love than we can get if we stick to the rusty faucet and try to make the best of it. But we can think it is the loving thing to do to stick with our rusty faucet and make the best of it.

God had to bomb me out of looking only to that one rusty faucet. The faucet had been rusted all along, but I couldn’t let go of my hold on that plumbing until the people I looked to for love literally proved themselves willing to see me and my children murdered. Wow! Sometimes I feel so sorry for dear God. How hard it must be for God to get us to look up, let go of the rusty faucet, and open to all the love God wants to give us.

When I finally did, I found much better parents in God, parents that send in a river of love from so many directions that I sometimes feel like love in an ocean of love. And never was it more of a relief than when I lay down this burden I was carrying of trying to find God in the personalities of my family. The river is separate from the personalities. I found God there in the river and could gratefully give up my abusive efforts to find it in the personality of my family members. And in doing so, I began a journey to realize the river of God’s love is flowing everywhere, but it is a heck of a lot more fun to swim in this river when we let go of all that rusty plumbing.

Jim Stretches his Legs

This is the one week of the year that Jim’s friends wish they were him. The other fifty one his laundry detail makes his life a little less appealing, but this week, his life is the bomb.

As the week kicks off, friends call. Friends e-mail. Friends stop him on the street. They want to go over every tiny detail of his itinerary. They want to be reminded how he became the luckiest man in northern New England. They want to drool a bit over what life has in store for him for four glorious days. You see, tomorrow morning, Jim will be eating grits in the clubhouse at Augusta National Golf Course. Then he will set off into the wild green yonder and watch a little golf.

Our story begins in 1990 when, after a good decade of serious effort, Jim managed to get two of the most coveted tickets in sports. Jim landed two big fish, tickets to the Masters golf tournament for the Saturday and Sunday rounds. He and his brother Stephen went down for the two rounds. It was a peak moment for both of them. The next year they returned without tickets, determined to find a way back in. Miraculously, they managed to procure two passes with what I thought was an insipid sign reading, “Two New Englanders Want Tickets”.

During those first two years, Jim and Stephen made friends with another Tom Watson fan. Together they followed Watson round after round. By year three, this Tom Watson fan revealed that his family were members of Augusta and that the Sheehan brothers were now on the list to receive tickets each year. This detail always seems to get golfers of any ilk to fall to their knees in wonder and awe. The ticket of tickets offered to Jim and Stephen on an annual basis? I have seen grown men weep when they hear this piece of data.

It’s usually sometime in January when the annual official invite comes. Their friend with his distinctive southern drawl calls to see if those Sheehan boys want to make the trip again to walk this course of courses. Jim and Stephen’s spirits perk up immediately. It may be thirty below zero in Meriden with a stiff wind out of the north, but now they know spring will come after all, if not to Meriden, New Hampshire then to Augusta, Georgia.

This is Jim’s seventeenth trip down Magnolia Lane. He has a lot of stories now and knows a lot of fun facts about the course and the people that populate its beautiful fairways. Jim knows how many urinals are in the upstairs men’s bathroom of the clubhouse. He seems to have run into half of Hollywood and all of the PGA tour in this bathroom. He knows the shortcuts from hole to hole and walked one side by side with Tiger Woods last year. He has seen the wine cellar as well as the press tent. He has brought me every cookbook ever sold at the tournament and a lot of used plastic glasses with the Masters registered trademark all over them too. He has eaten a lot of fabulous pimento cheese sandwiches and even some sandwiches they call catfood. He has learned so much about this golf tournament that I half expect him to return home wearing a green jacket.

Out in Augusta at large, he knows when the Krispy Kreme donuts get rolling down the conveyor belt each morning. He always brings Willy and Emily home a dozen each because we don’t have Krispy Kremes up here in the arctic north. He knows the restaurants where the lines are four hours long and he knows the places where the food is so bad you can be seated in four minutes. Masters week is a world unto itself for Jim and never was there a man who deserved this treat more.

This morning as he prepared to set off, we laughed about the year that the local paper and the local, now defunct, television station both did stories about Jim and brother Stephen going to the Masters. A film crew actually came to the local airport to film Jim and Stephen getting on the plane to go to Augusta. Okay, so we have very little nice weather up here in the north country, but we also have very little crime. Papers and television reporters are always looking for anything even resembling a news story. So one year everyone thought this was news! And around here it actually was.

Their generous friend with the tickets thought this media frenzy was quite a funny story. As they wandered the course that year, their friend told various captains of industry all about Jim and Stephen being feted for being the only folks in New Hampshire to make it to the Masters. One crusty industrial giant got a little confused about the details of the story and asked “Jim, do you own the paper?” Heady stuff for a sixth grade teacher.

So Jim if you are in the press tent checking out the blog and filing your report for CBS, know that everything fine on the home front. Just don’t forget the Krispy Kremes. 100_1679.JPG

Jim sets off. Riley and May May still think they are going too.


Will thinking about his Krispy Kremes. Hey did I mention it snowed?

The Emperor’s New Clothes

I believe we choose the family we are born into. We choose our families for both their spiritual knowledge and their spiritual weaknesses. While we grow up, family weaknesses often rub off on us and become our own weaknesses. Or maybe the truth is that we already have these weaknesses and need to have them re-ignited in us by the family we choose. No matter the case, confronting a family weakness gives us a chance to throw off the weakness from the inside out. We have to engage with a weakness and own it, before we can let it go. This is one way to do that.

Our family’s divine knowledge is often submerged by family illusions, weaknesses, and personality murk. Usually we have to work hard to retrieve this wisdom. Because of our efforts, the harvest will be something that really belongs to us. And regardless of the family murk, it will be a valuable harvest. Why? Because no matter what family we choose, it will be a family whose core identity is divine, holding eternal wisdom that is divine as well. Why? Because when the illusions are gone, everything is divine.

Those who choose to come into an adoptive family or find themselves raised by more than one family of origin will experience multiple strands of family strengths and weaknesses. One gift of this is that they will never completely believe that only one family lineage holds a monopoly on truth. They will quite literally embody a deeper truth that there are many ways to find our common divinity. They will experience first hand that there are many ways to lose track of divinity too. Consequently, they will often have more family garbage to toss. This can be an arduous process.

The Angels tell me that at the moment of birth, each of us holds an awareness of why we chose the circumstances of birth that we did. While I have been a rather disorganized mother in terms of taking photographs of my children’s milestones, I do have one photo of my eldest son, Ben, when he is a few minutes old. In this photo, he looks into my eyes with such a penetrating, clear look. It is easy to see that he has brought some of his before birth consciousness into this moment. My understanding is that this awareness necessarily fades within a few hours. Each of us must regain this sense of clarity about our choices and mission in life through our own effort and search process.

During this brief period after birth, we also have a clear view of the spiritual strengths and weaknesses of our chosen family, the tool bag for spiritual learning that our family will be offering us as we grow up. We remember, if only for a few hours, the full inventory of the useful as well as useless tools for living of our family of origin. We grasp the reasons we chose our family. This is yet another piece of awareness that fades away only to be regained through life experiences and our analysis of these experiences.

In the guidebook, I write about the process of sifting a family’s divine wisdom from its spiritual illusions and weaknesses in the descriptions of Black Currant and Bloodroot Flower Essences. This is because Black Currant Flower Essence supports cleaning up the counter productive habits and illusions of our families of origin and Bloodroot helps us to see the divine wisdom our families hold in the family tool bags. What an awesome truth that even the most garbage encrusted family holds divine wisdom at its core. And more wonderful still, this wisdom is the only thing that is real about a family.

I have always been drawn to make Flower Essences that I personally need. Black Currant and Bloodroot are no exceptions. With the addition of Borage Flower Essence to help me have the courage to do the work, Black Currant, Bloodroot, and the aforementioned Borage have been what all of us at the farm call the Family River Trio. This threesome has helped me recognize and remove family’s spiritual garbage floating in the river of my family’s bloodline. The trio has helped me uncover my family’s divine wisdom hidden beneath the garbage. It has helped me have the courage, strength, and good cheer to keep going when the garbage got me down.

Sometimes it feels like tossing family garbage overboard has been a primary focus of my adult life. I also have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what divine wisdom could possibly have compelled me to I choose the family of origin that I did. Let’s just say that there is so much detritus in my family river that it resembles Love Canal before the EPA arrived. I joke that I hope my soul gets the memo from my personality and agrees to choose another group of people for my family in my next life. But truth be told, I have come to a moment in my clean up process where I am at peace with my choice. This family, with its weaknesses and its divine wisdom, was one of many ingredients that got me to where I am in my life. And I am grateful to be where I am.

My family of origin obscured its divine wisdom in lots of ways. There were soul numbing addictive behaviors, values that acclaimed worldly accomplishment over self knowledge, ideas of intellectual excellence disconnected from emotions or the physical body, damaging notions that certain people’s ideas of perfection were superior to love, and a general approach to life at odds with divine purpose or any acknowledgment of divinity.

As is true with any family river garbage, none of these diversions work because none of them are based on anything real. Anyone who pokes through the guck and clears the water in their part of their family river is going to find treasure. I certainly did.
The strength of my family of origin river is a deeply obscured but wonderful Love for God. Maybe this is the wisdom of every family river. Let me know what you have found. I would be very interested.

When I finally connected with my family’s divine wisdom, it was a knock your socks off moment for me. It made me know my clean up operation was worth the effort. It also made me understand with more compassion why people might be afraid to encounter the divine wisdom of the family lineage. The wisdom requires a lot of letting go. I imagine this is true of any encounter with a family’s divine wisdom. Beliefs about what matters in life, choices of career paths, values systems, and the whole foundation of a life may suddenly be experienced as similar to the Emperor’s New Clothes.

Maybe it is a good thing that a family river clean up takes time, even with the best Flower Essence support. Throwing out garbage piece by piece while savoring each moment of expanding spiritual freedom helps get you ready for the experience that washes over you when you get to your family river’s divine self knowledge. BLISS! WOW! We are LOVE! We are LOVED! There is nothing but GOD! Why would I ever want to do anything else but LOVE THE GOD IN EVERYTHING???

It’s not an awareness I could hold onto completely, but it continues to inform my life. It leaves me with the work of trying to live a life in integrity with what I experienced, because what I experienced feels much more real than anything else. Love IS the only thing that matters! Only God is real! Everything else will pass away, so any effort to add to my pile of illusions with more illusions is about as sensible as putting icicles in a pre heated oven.

And how to avoid falling back into the obscuring habits of my family river, but hold true to this truth once I experienced it? I am working on that. I try to keep my tool bag as cleaned out as possible. I try to resist the siren song of old family beliefs that I really need this gizmo or that accolade or to be right, whatever right is. I try to remember to give everything to God instead of thinking I am supposed to do this alone. That’s one of the biggest, most recalcitrant pieces of my family garbage, this idea that I am adding to some mighty pile of worthwhile stuff all by MYself with only the tools of MY amazing intellect, MY willpower, and MY skills of discernment. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

It’s not me. The mighty pile is not real. There is only LOVE.

This cleaning the river is an ongoing process! But, oh, to taste that pure wisdom again! Hand me that pitchfork! God and I have work to do!