My Traveling Shoes

Done found myself a new pair of travelin' shoes to wear on this leg of my journey. Handmade to fit and suit me just right, supportin' and comfortin' me each step of the way.They are wild and colorful as I chose them to be, they suit my personality.
I've traveled so many miles in shoes that someone else bought for me, plain, poorly fitted, worn, second hand, hand me downs. Ohh, they hurt my feet and took me places that I didn't need to go, places that I didn't want to go. For many years I put them on. I was told it was my duty, but my heart was heavy and my cares so many.
Done found myself a new pair of travelin' shoes to wear on this leg of my journey. Handmade to fit and suit me just right, supportin' and comfortin' me each step of the way.They are wild and colorful as I chose them to be, they suit my personality. I bought these shoes. I own these shoes. They are mine.
by Jeanne leigh...copyrighted...2007


JOIN ME ON MY ECLECTIC JOURNEY.....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Your Own Little House

My favorite movies are the old Classics. I love the simplicity of how they are filmed especially that they are in black and white. I am intrigued with the stories and getting to know these characters of long ago. I enjoy seeing the styles, fashions, d├ęcor of the homes and models of the cars. These old films easily hold my interest. I particularly love the films with the music of the 20’s - 40’s. I am captivated by the big band music and the jazzy bluesy tunes.



A few days ago for the first time, I watched a comedy “Here Comes the Groom” directed by Frank Capra in 1951 starring Bing Crosby, Jane Wyman, and Alexis Smith. In 1952 this film won the Oscar for Best Musical /Original Song with “In the Cool, Cool, Cool, of the Evening” written by Hoagy Carmichael-music and Johnny Mercer-lyrics.


I wanted to share this little tune called “Your Own Little House” lyrics by Ray Evans and music by Jay Livingston. This movie is about the work of Bing Crosby’s character, Paul Garvey, a Foreign Correspondent who is working with the war orphans in Paris and finds himself adopting two of the children, but must be married in 5 days or he will lose his adoption. It’s pretty crazy and ridiculous, but entertaining. Thank God we have changed our ideas about women and their place in the world from the understanding held by the writers of this screenplay! It is true to its era.


I was touched by this little song because one of the girls had just been adopted and one of the boys asked Garvey, if he will ever have a house/home and this song is Garvey’s reply.


In the song he teaches the children the value of their bodies. That the body they have been given is the house of their minds, hearts and souls and all they hold dear. So many children and adults need to be reminded of this. No matter where we are or what we are going through we have ourselves to love, respect and care for. We belong to ourselves and the Creator who made us. Sweet message at this Christmas time. Hope you enjoy it. Bing Crosby’s performance is fun and delightfully playful.

Merry Christmas! Be good to yourselves. You are the only you that you have! Jeanne


Sunday, December 12, 2010

We all have a little Lucy and Jerry inside us. Thank God!


No wonder we all connect with characters like Lucy as in I Love Lucy, or Jerry and the other characters of Seinfeld and many other similar comedies. I don’t know about you, but some of the things that happen in my life could easily be part of a script for a sitcom.



Last Friday night our band was playing at a Restaurant/Bar. It was a great evening. After we were finished with our last set, I was across the room sitting with a couple having a nice conversation, while the guys packed up the equipment, when my son, Jamen came to the table to tell me that they couldn’t find the car keys. He then asked me if I had them. I knew my husband, Jim had parked the car after we unloaded and did not remember him giving me the keys, but at this time in my life…well, let’s say I remain open because, sometimes if I’m focused on one thing and someone comes and gives me something or whatever, I may just “be on automatic” and take it without really realizing it. So I never swear that this or that did or didn’t happen. After they looked everywhere, I went up and did a look through everything myself. NO KEYS. At my friend’s table, I carefully took everything out of my purse. NO KEYS. We all continued to look but to no avail. I began to think they were either inside the car or they had been dropped somewhere. By this time more and more folks were becoming aware that our keys were missing. At the table where I was sitting I took everything out of my purse one more time. NO KEYS.

My friend Lori whom I was sitting with, then told me how once her husband Bill couldn’t find the keys so she frisked him and found them. I thought that was hilarious so I looked at her and said, “ I’m going to go frisk Jim right now.” Lori laughed and watched as I went up on the stage where Jim was standing with his coat on. By now, a lot of people were watching and I was hamming it up. I said, Okay Jim this is an official frisk, I’m frisking you…get those hands up in the air.” Jim laughed and played a long. I got about a third of the way down his coat and in an obscure pocket on the left front side I FOUND THE KEYS!!! Jim was shocked and perhaps a bit embarassed, you should have seen the look on his face. He didn’t even realize he had a pocket there. I was more shocked then him. Everyone fell out laughing!!! It was very funny. I could not believe I actually found them.

We were all laughing and glad to have found the keys. It was getting late and time to load up and head out for our 1.5 hour drive home. I went back to sit with Lori and Bill and as I was going to sit on my chair which was a high stool, I happened to notice something on the floor. I went down to pick it up. It was dark and I immediately felt the mesh outside of my wallet and realized that I had probably dropped it when I was taking everything out of it to look for my keys. I wasn’t too surprised because I have actually done this before. I was relieved to find it, threw it back in my purse and remarked to my friends that I had found my wallet on the floor. Bill mentioned that he couldn’t find his wallet. Oh I hope you find it. Lori said, “He’ll find it, he does this all the time.” I could relate to that. The car was loaded up and it was time to go. We said our good-byes. Bill made one more comment about his wallet. Lori laughed and said it was probably in the car. I told him I hoped he’d find it soon. I know how maddening that can be.


It was about 11:30 p.m.when we arrived home and it had been a long day. I was tired, but a bit wired from all the excitement of the day. I thought it would be a good time to order a gift for my older son, Justin. I had found this gift and decided on it a few days before, but hadn’t had time to purchase it so, I go back on line and go to the site where the gift is, fill out all the information and reach into my purse and grab my wallet. As my eyes focused on the mesh wallet I could see Bill’s I.D. peeking through. It was Bill’s wallet I had picked up. Though it was the same material I could see now in the light that it was a tiny bit larger and a tiny bit heavier. I was mortified and yet, laughing my head off.

I hoped I wasn’t calling too late, but knew I had to let him know that I had his wallet. He had just gotten off the phone canceling some of his credit cards but was very relieved to get his wallet back. We had quite a laugh about it all. I referred to myself as Lucy. Bill told me we couldn’t have written a better comedic sketch. I still laugh when I think about how goofy the whole thing was. I think we all have a little Lucy and a little Jerry in us. Thank God! It makes for interesting stories that make us laugh and helps us connect in new and deeper ways.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Life is Full of Surprises




When I was growing up, my cousin Vicki was almost exactly one year younger then me. She was my closest friend. We were just naturally drawn to one another. We both were looking for an adventure and had big imaginations. We played dolls, climbed trees, were Tarzan and Jane, pretended to speak in other languages, played with marbles, swam, played games and formed clubs. We did all kinds of crazy things. I always enjoyed her company.



When I was 13 my mother left my father and we moved from Tennessee to the upper peninsula of Michigan to live with my grandmother. Vicki had lived across the street from me for a few years. I did not see her again until I was 16 years old. The relationship between my Grandmother, my mother and I was not good and was worsening daily. At one point I ran away, found by the police and brought back. Eventually, I could not bear it any longer. It was then, I asked if I could live with my father. My father was an alcoholic and married to his second wife. On the weekends he drank a lot and the two of them fought. I spent most of those months with Vicki's family who were very good to me. Vicki and I got into a little mischievousness, nothing serious but we mostly just laughed and had a great time together.


I ended up having to go back to live with my mother because the situation with my Dad was so unstable. I did not see Vicki again until years later at my father’s funeral. I was 23, engaged to be married. My father was shot five times by his fourth wife. It was a terrible thing. I saw Vicki only for a few moments. Condolences were shared and we were able to joke around for a moment remembering some childhood memories. After this we lost contact until last November.


On a whim, I thought I’d put her name in the search engine on Facebook. Four Hundred names came up. YIKES! I did not know her married name, but the first one that came up was from Memphis which is where we grew up, so I tried it. I sent her a message asking if she was my cousin. She wrote back right away. We have been getting to know each other again and telling our journey stories. Vicki is such a beautiful soul. She has a strong faith, loves her family and children and animals. She still has the most wonderful sense of humor. I smile and laugh a lot when we write back and forth. She has reminded me of so many wonderful times in my childhood that I had forgotten about. It is amazing how close we are as if we were never apart.


There is still so much to catch up on and to learn about each other, but I know she is the best friend I have ever had. I love her and respect her with all my heart and look forward to every conversation and visit we will ever have. Life is full of surprises! Some of them are treasures, like this one! Peace. Jeanne



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nourishing Our Lives


The last few weeks of my life have been very full, busy and at times hectic. Between work, family birthdays and playing with Wise Old River there has been little free time. As a result of my rushing around, I couldn't help but notice that the plants on my little front porch were beginning to look more like dried flowers then the lovely flowers I had recently purchased at the store. Thursday night before rushing off to an evening of performing with our band, I made myself stop and really look at those plants. I knew I could quickly water them, as I had been doing, but then I also knew it just wasn't doing the trick. These plants needed some special attention.They were dying.  I took each one into my bathroom where it is cool and humid. I placed each one in the tub.  I gave each plant a nice big drink and then turned on the shower and then talked to them a bit. Yes, I do that from time to time:) Then I closed the curtain where they could rest, out of the sun and into the cool moist air. I left them until I returned late that night where already I could see a difference in them. Yet, I have to say the damage already done from my neglect is still apparent.

During the time that I took care of these plants, I was immediately reminded of the importance of caring for my own soul, spirit, mind and physical being and how especially during these busy times I can neglect caring for myself on a daily basis. By now, I was beginning to feel very tired and exhausted. As a result I had made less time for meditation and quiet times. I was not sleeping well and because I felt so tired found myself reluctant to seek out physical exercise. I was feeling the results of all of these things, so once again I was reminded of the importance throughout each day to include moments where I can care for my "self". My heart needs rest and quiet. I am nurtured by taking time for some emotional connection with family and friends. My body needs to move and eat good nutritious food and sleep. My spirit needs refreshing by sitting even for ten minutes quietly before God, taking a few moments to read from some spiritual writing. I can take that devotional reading and think on it through out the day. For myself, I need to allow some time throughout the week to write and reflect on my life. My mind needs challenges too. I need a good book to continue to plug away at a page at a time. Being open to good conversation and listening to other folks ideas is important too. There is only so much time in the day, but if I make it a priority, I know it will make a difference in my day. Daily caring for my whole being in little ways and then making those specific times like today where I  make a concentrated effort to focus on  these things in the same way I gave those plants the attention they needed can make all the difference for how I approach my life.  Then as a person, I won't be like those dried up flowers, but alive and rested and capable of being the best me that I can be. What do you need each day to nourish you? Are you taking time regularly to care for your whole being? Are you making a choice to specifically set aside time and space for dedicated care of your own soul? Peace, Jeanne

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What Brings YOU Life?


We all have responsibilities. Most of us work hard and try to make the world a better place. Some of us are fortunate in that we have careers or jobs that suit us perfectly and this can make life a lot more pleasant. As for me,  being the wife of a United Methodist pastor, well we usually are relocated every 3 to 5 years which means I begin searching for a new job with each move. I love variety, so this has not been a problem for me at all. As a result, I have worked in mental health as a case manager for severely emotionally disturbed children, I have been a court liason for a mental health center taking referrals and having groups with those children teaching anger management and self-esteem improvement. I have worked in two different libraries and I have also been a local pastor. I have enjoyed all of these vocations, but working in the arts always brings the most life to me. When I am creating something or being part of the creation whether it is in theatre, photography, art, writing or music. I feel most alive. I am in a musical group called Wise Old River. We work full-time and then in our free time we rehearse every opportunity we get. My son, Jamen is the songwriter and guitarist and lead vocalist. My husband Jim is the multi-instrumentalist.  He plays lapsteel, bouzouki, guitar and is always looking for a new and interesting stringed instrument he can learn to play. We also have a friend, Stephen who plays bass. I sing harmony. I love singing harmony.


Rumi says, "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." That makes perfect sense to me. Maybe you are not in a situation where you can do it for a living, but you can still do it. I tell you it never ceases to amaze me. I can be totally exhausted, feel sick, have a headache, be upset and if we begin to sing either for rehearsal or go out and perform somewhere, I am immediately energized. I feel better. This is an elixer for me. Yes, we should do what we love whenever we are able. This is medicine for our soul.


This past Monday our band was on a local tv WCYB news at noon to promote a wonderful festival that takes place this time of year every year. It is called Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion http://www.bristolrhythm.com/ Wise Old River is performing there on Saturday and Sunday. I am so looking forward to this time of doing what I love. Check out this song we played on WCYB http://www.wcyb.com/video/24991719/


So, I ask you, "What brings you life or what makes you happiest?" Make time to do it. Be healed, be whole, enjoy what you love. Peace, Jeanne

Saturday, August 21, 2010

To Stand in the Moment




Lately I have struggled with “letting go” of situations where I obviously have no control over how someone thinks, feels about or even perceives me or those that I love the most. When there is some kind of upset, I feel a bit of a wound and struggle in wanting to “fix” the situation or make it better in some way. Life’s experience has taught and is teaching me that sometimes its best just to “Let it go.” So what if I’m misunderstood, or disliked or gossiped about or even rejected. I believe God is calling me to stand on my own two feet, be who I truly am…the best that I can be and then trust God that this is enough. It is exhausting living the other way. I know because I did it for many years. These survival skills I learned as the child of an alcoholic...the fixing, rescuing, and becoming a chameleon to please others was all about keeping myself and others safe, accepted and so I thought loved. I know now that often those folks were loving someone else, not the real me that was hiding in fear.
I came up with a saying a few years ago, “I’d rather be hated for who I truly am, then loved for who I truly am not". An acquaintance of mine named Moe told me once, “Moe is not for everyone.” That comment, so simple just shot straight to my heart. So true. “Jeanne is not for everyone.” And that is okay. My strongest desire these days is to live in the moment, to deepen my walk with God, to know myself and be myself and seek to live peace and love in my little corner of the world. This is enough for me.



I want to share this devotion from a book called, RADICAL GRACE: DAILY MEDITATIONS by Richard Rohr. This devotion is titled, THE ‘THIS-NESS’ OF THINGS        


I believe with all my heart that creation is already redemption. That’s good Genesis theology, that’s good Franciscan theology. Already in the act of creation, God has named you. Your “you-ness” is written in the core of your being. The Franciscan philosopher Duns Scotus called the “this-ness” (haecceity, in Latin) of things. He said that God only created individuals, not genus species. God created you as you, in your unique “this-ness.”


Spiritual life is a matter of becoming who you truly are. It’s not becoming Catherine of Siena, or some other saint, but who you are. It sounds easy enough, but being who you truly are is work, courage, and faith.


In some ways religious people are the hardest people to work with--they’re so addicted to judgments that they can’t let reality be. Maybe that’s why Jesus said not to judge. We’ve got a lot to learn from creation spirituality, Native American spirituality and Franciscan spirituality, in terms of letting creation, nature, earth--what is--speak to us. We religious people come on with our predetermined conclusions, Bible quotes and dogmas--all so that we don’t have to receive the moment as it is. For some reason it is easier to hold opinions than to just be aware and awakened.

I love this and I strongly feel this call. To Stand and live in each moment truly as myself seeking to deepen my life with God, myself and others. Living in this moment. For this moment is all we truly have. PEACE, Jeanne

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Grandpa Hill

It is amazing how people that you might interact with for just a few days can have a profound effect on your life. This is a picture of my maternal grandmother's fourth husband whom I knew for only a few days as Grandpa Hill. Grandpa Hill was one of those important people for me. He had raised four daughters who were grown when I met him. He obviously loved his daughters very much. Grandpa Hill was visiting at my home for a few days and he bought me the book Black Beauty. No one in my family was a reader and no one had ever read to me. He invited me to hear the story of Black Beauty, putting me on his lap and reading each day until we finished the book. He was a quiet man, but very loving and gentle. I remember he loved smoking big cigars and wore suspenders every day. Grandpa Hill's kindness touched me deeply and I cherish that memory. I never saw him again.

It is powerful the postive effect we can have on those around us by simple acts of kindness. Today as I am reminded of this experience I am motivated to seek to be that kind of person. How are we effecting those we interact with daily? A good question to ask ourselves. Peace, Jeanne

Thursday, August 12, 2010

O God of light, from whom all life flows, may we glimpse the shinings of your presence in all things. In the darkness of our world, in places of fear and terrible wrong, and in the darknesses of our own lives, in times of confusion and doubt, may we glimpse the shinings of your life-giving presence.



~Celtic Treasure Daily Scriptures and Prayer by J. Philip Newell

I love this book and this particular little prayer which I read this morning. So much of what goes on in our lives can seem so overwhelming. This prayer helps me have hope and moves me to trust and look a bit closer and deeper at all of the life around me. ~Jeanne

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Laughter

There is a quote by Anne Lamott that I came across the other day. I just loved it and shared it on my Facebook. She says, "Laughter is carbonated holiness." I love that. Laughter has always seemed magical, mysterious, wholesome, wonderful, healing, freeing and now holy.


I went through a period of my life where I found that my laughing was getting pretty scarce. I even wondered what was happening to me. Have a lost my sense of humor? I've done a lot of laughing in my life. So, I began to pray and think about this. How could I lighten up? How could I be more open to seeing and experiencing the funny side of things? As I became more open and realized what a precious gift our sense of humor is, well I found myself laughing more.


I have to say that I love having one of those deep belly laughs where you hurt, you laugh so hard. This is something you can't fake or make happen and that is the beauty of it. What a treasure those times are. Then there is a laughing til you cry or laughing while you cry. Two very different experiences. Here are some quotes about laughter:
The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.” Mark Twain quotes (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)


God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.”
~Voltaire quotes (French Philosopher and Writer. One of the greatest of all French authors, 1694-1778)


“Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.”
~Friedrich Nietzsche quotes (German classical Scholar, Philosopher and Critic of culture, 1844-1900.)


“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge - myth is more potent than history - dreams are more powerful than facts - hope always triumphs over experience - laughter is the cure for grief - love is stronger than death.”   ~Robert Fulghum quotes


“The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused.”
~ Shirley MacLaine quotes (Outspoken American actress and dancer, b.1934)


"Laughter is the closest distance between two people.”
~Victor Borge quotes (Danish born American Comedian and Pianist, 1909-2000)


“What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.”   ~Yiddish Proverb quotes


"Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects.”  ~ Arnold H. Glasgow quotes


"Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”  ~ Mark Twain quotes (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)




“Laughter is the brush that sweeps away the cobwebs of your heart.”
~ Mort Walker


"Laugh at yourself, but don't ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don't leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.”
~ Alan Alda quotes (American actor, b.1936)

All of these quotes are from thinkexist.com


May we all continue to be open to seeing the lighter side of life and open to experiencing the healing powers of laughter. Peace, Jeanne

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From Brokeness to Healing


I heard this song a number of years ago and every word rang true in my heart. These words fit my experience of turning to Christ when I was 19 years old. From that moment,  the path I chose turned my life in a completely different direction. This path would bring joys and sorrows but deep healing and happiness. The path I had been on would have destroyed me. I will always hold this song as a treasure. Julie Miller has become a favorite musician of mine. Buddy Miller and Julie are an awesome team. Check out there music. Peace, Jeanne
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Buddy-Julie-Miller/69522817902

You can have my heart, though it isn't new,

It's been used and broken, and only comes in blue,
It's been down a long road, and it got dirty along the way,
If I give it to you, will you make it clean and wash the shame away?


You can have my heart, if you don't mind broken things,
You can have my life; you don't mind these tears,
Well, I heard that you make old things new, so I give these pieces all to you,
If you want it, you can have my heart.




So beyond repair, nothing I could do,
I tried to fix it myself, but it was only worse when I got through,
Then you walk right into my darkness and you speak words so sweet,
And you hold me like a child, 'til my frozen tears fall at your feet.


You can have my heart, if you don't mind broken things,
You can have my life if you don't mind these tears,
Well, I heard that you make old things new, so I give these pieces up to you,
If you want it, you can have my heart

[ Broken Things Lyrics on http://www.lyricsmania.com/ ]

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Being CARE- FULL of what we say.....


As sure as I share this something will spew out of this mouth that might best have been left unsaid. We are all so human but, its something surely worth working toward. I often end my e-mails or messages with PEACE, because peace is so important to me. It starts within my own heart and mind and then hopefully it will effect my loved ones, friends, community and acquaintances and as each of us works towards peace in our own little corner of the world then perhaps it will affect the world. That is my hope. I don't know where I read this. If you have seen it and know please let me know. This is a quote;

Your “homework” is to practice an ancient Sufi tradition: In your life together, speak words to your beloved only if they can pass through 3 gates: First, is it truthful? Second, is it necessary? Third, is it kind? If your words are truthful & necessary & kind, then the love you have maintained up until today will be nourished and continue to grow & your name will continue to remain safe in your beloved’s mouth.

I also read this quote on a friends Facebook recently:

There is so much good in the worst of us,

And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.


~Edward Wallis Hoch


This is something to consider. I hope we can all seek to be better about our words. We will slip up, and in those times we will need to forgive ourselves but, hopefully it will become less and less of a problem.  Peace, Jeanne

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wise Old River - Roseless Thorn

The title of this song is Roseless Thorn and its message is about recovery. One of my favorite lines is "How Sweet it is"... which of course is referring to the joy, peace and grace a person can experience when they seek help and begin the work of recovery.  Also, it relates to the families that suffer as their loved ones with an addiction struggle with this disease...and rejoice as the addict and family find help, hope and sobriety through recovery. "HOW SWEET IT IS! "...for everyone involved!! Please, Give it a listen. Peace, Jeanne

Thursday, July 1, 2010

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

It is very dangerous to go into eternity with possibilities which one has oneself prevented from becoming realities. A possibility is a hint from God. One must follow it. In every one there is latent the highest possibility, one must follow it. If God does not wish it then let God prevent it, but one must not hinder oneself. Trusting to God I have dared, but I was not successful; in that is to be found peace, calm, and confidence in God. I have not dared: that is a woeful thought, a torment in eternity. - From the Journals of Kierkegaard, 18

I love this quote. I believe that we can rob ourselves of so many opportunities just because of fear or self-doubt sometimes just from the voices in our heads. I think we have to move forward with our hopes, dreams, visions and goals in spite of the fear and the obstacles within ourselves. Then, whatever we are able to accomplish will be such a delight. We can then trust that we have done our best. I don't believe we take our failures into eternity, but I think that statement helps stress the importance of not giving up on those things we feel drawn to.

Blessings on each and everyone of you. Peace, Jeanne

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Good Place to Start


I'm learning to play the ukulele, had it for about a year but haven't played it as much as I'd hoped. I am seeking to spend more time with it and began writing this little tune. Thought I'd share the words with you now and hopefully by the end of summer get a video of me singing it. Hope you like it. Thanks


I want to live my life from my heart
Seems like a good place to start
I want to live it true
Like Rumi said, "The Beauty you love
Let it be what you do."


Some days they seem so dark
Other days are quite sublime
As far as I can tell
It's a sacred thing
This passing of time


The joys come and the sorrows go
Then the sorrows come and the joys go
Life is just this kind of ebb and flow


Let it go
Let it go
Let it go


We're all walking down this crazy road
Sometimes with a heavy load
Lessons to learn
Bridges to build
And Bridges to burn


Its a complicated life
Time to simplify
Hold on to what is real
Let go of what is not
Just let it fly
Just say good-bye.....


The joys come and the sorrows go
Then the sorrows come and the joys go
Life is just this kind of ebb and flow


Let it go
Let it go
Let it go


By- jeanne denton



Monday, June 7, 2010

Seeking to BE at peace and to LIVE simply

For 20 years I lived as a minimalist. From the age of 20 to 40 I was part of an intentional community/Christian ministry where we did not own much of anything. The money we made in our businesses was pooled to care for us all and to support our programs to feed the poor and provide shelter for homeless women and children. We also had various other ministries. We were provided for in a very simplistic manner. Didn't own anything really. We had room and board and clothes and enough personal belongings to fill one large room. Birthdays and Anniversaries we were allowed 30.00 for a gift. Christmas was another amazingly small amount to spend on each family member. Our meals were cafeteria style. It was a life we felt called to. It was a life that was meaningful. I was happy with such a little amount. My life was not about things or money.
 We left that ministry about 20 years ago. Our life has not been about money or things this past 20 years either, but we have made money and paid bills and accumulated a certain amount of things. Many of these things we don't really need. Now we are coming back  to a place of wanting to return to a more minimalistic life. This time it will be done on our terms. So, we are working on getting rid of all that we can do without. Our instruments, computers, TV and such will stay. WE are down to one car again, but have some work to do to get down where we want to be concerning our other material possessions.

I've been reading about these tiny houses or small houses and really like the idea. We live in a parsonage now but we are heading towards our time of retirement. A small house would be all we'd need. We'll see. I guess I'm just seeking to simplify my life all the way around. Peace, JLD

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Written in 1991 - Jeanne Denton


It was the body of unforgiveness I carried with me. Visions of an enshrouded corpse, the smell of death permeated my every step. It was a heavy burden to carry, but it had been with me so long I didn't know it was there. A paradox of vision, duplicity of soul, obscured identity, beneath the agony of this load. My muscles were taut, always working to carry it. It was not strange.

And yet, ond day as God began to touch this body of death, pain began to appear. Life began to flow into this corpse, once forgotten, and then I became aware that I was carrying this wounded person. The load was unbearable. I hated it. Each movement hurt. I cried to be delivered from this burden so great.

Each step forward into God's light, God's truth, each memory remembered, forgiven, the wounds began to heal. That part of myself that was lost, has begun to find it's way. We are walking side by side. Sometimes limping, leaning, we must stop to rest. I must love and nurture what I once fled.

I found this recently as I went through some old papers of mine. Yes, I wrote this about 19 years ago and I am happy to say that we are no longer side by side but one. I now continue to nurture those parts of myself that become evident as time passes. It is certainly a life long process but OHHH what a wonderful gift to be healing and growing as God's child. I pray this for each and every one of you. Peace, Jeanne

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Living From the Heart

Today I want to live from my heart. What does that mean? I want to seek to be genuine, secure in myself, confident and open to love, learn and grow. I want to live from my intelligence, intuition and talents. I want to be centered in God with a peaceful heart and mind and seek to spread joy and not pain. I love you God, I love you Jeanne, I love you family. I love you world. What will make me most alive today? Help me to take some time today to do whatever that is. Lead me God. Lead me Jeanne. AMEN

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love Thyself




Once when I was studying to be a Spiritual Director, we were asked to take some time and meditate on Psalms 23:5a "You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies:" and to then prayerfully and thoughtfully list the enemies in our lives. I was blown away when I got done, because in doing that exercise I came to realize that the majority of enemies in my life were truly things within my own self. Things such as fear, anxiety, poor self image, inferiority, unforgiveness..etc. were the greatest enemies of my soul. I have been using a daily devotion called Radical Grace by Richard Rohr. When I read this meditation, I thought of that experience that I had during those classes. I want to share his meditation with you.

Richard Rohr says, 

There is no way that you can love until you forgive yourself for not being perfect, for not being the saint you thought you were going to be. To use Franciscan imagery, until you've leapt across the chasm and embraced the leper, until you have recognized that really the leper is not on the other side of the chasm but the leper is, first of all, the leper within, you won't really know your passion, or be capable of com-passion.


Compassion comes from a spacious place where a lot of things are put together and coexist, where we recognize, forgive and make friends with the enemy within. There is nothing you hate, there is nothing you fear over there in other people that you haven't met and forgiven in your own soul. The passionate struggle with your own shadow becomes compassion for the struggles of our neighbor.

This certainly rings true in my life. I think this is a major part of our call as humans, to truly know, forgive, embrace and befriend all of ourselves so that we have the power to do that for our neighbor.  Jeanne

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ranier Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926) was a Bohemian-Austrian Poet and art critic. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude ,and profound anxiety: themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets.



He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose . Among English-language readers, his best-known work is the Duino Elegies,; his two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. He also wrote more than 400 poems in French, dedicated to his homeland of choice, the canton of Valais in Switzerland.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia






Here are several quotes of Ranier Maria Rilke that I especially love:


“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer.”


"For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. "

"Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky. "


~ Rainer Maria Rilke


I want to close this with a video of a song called Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. Our band, Wise Old River does a version of this song. Hallelujah is a word that can come to us when we are in AWE of something or someone that touches us beyond our normal everyday human existence. These moments are just reminders that there is a deeper life to be lived, a deeper understanding then what we often recognize in our daily living. Rainer Maria Rilke speaks to me in this way. Often certain music does the same. I am grateful for all such moments!!!   Blessings, Jeanne

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Music Therapy

Last Sunday on the CBS Sunday Morning Show: (CLICK ON THIS LINK BELOW)
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/24/sunday/main6136473.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody hosted by Charles Osgood, there was a segment about a popular new jazz singer named Melody Gardot. Incredible story, great talent that all came about through a terrible accident where at the age of 19 she was bicycling in Philedelphia where she was attending a community college, studying Fashion. A jeep ran a red light and hit her. She suffered a broken pelvis, injured spine and a brain injury. Give this a listen. Music therapy was the key to her recovery. I've always loved the idea of music and art and the healing power they possess.

I love in the interview when she is asked, "You went from not being able to speak to writing and singing beautiful music. How did you do that?" Melody replied, "That is a question for God." This is a very inspiring story. I also want to share one of her videos with you. ENJOY!!! ~Jeanne

Monday, January 18, 2010

Me, Myself and I (God's precious Gift)


This is a painting that my son Justin did. He is a wonderful artist. I love to look at art and ponder what is being expressed. He calls this " The Idea of Me." Subjectively, I feel this painting might express coming upon our true selves, small..often forgotten and unheard. As we seek to listen to our own hearts, spirits and minds...we often find that we are very different than the life we live.



About 20 years ago, I found myself in this very place. I was raised in a very unstable home with an alcoholic father. I learned certain skills to survive that life. I carried those skills with me for many years. As a child, in my home, I learned to become invisible and to very cautiously express my true feelings, often denying them for safety, peace, and less conflict. I was filled with fear.



When my mother finally left my alcoholic father, we moved in with her mother, who was very domineering and wasn't happy with a 13 year old girl in her home. In my older teen years, I rebelled and resisted this life and family and ran from them and myself.



At the age of 19, wearied from it all I ran into the arms of Jesus. For the first time in my life, I knew that I was loved and that there was a life and purpose for me somewhere and somehow. Within a few years I became a part of a Christian Ministry/Intentional Community that was in the beginning a place to call "Family." It gave me a sense of belonging. In some ways, I healed in that setting. I found a few parts of myself there. I grew in my love for God and learned that I could serve others in spite of my own pain. The leaders in this community were very simplistic in their understanding of God. They filled in the blanks for me, as to who God was and what my place was in serving Him. There was little space for questions, only black and white answers and far too much control of my life. I lived and worked there for 20 years.



My last two years there I experienced something called "Spiritual Direction" outside of the community, which was frowned upon at that time because they believed the answers to anything I needed to know were found within that community. In those two years, I allowed myself to ask questions and explore the truth within myself of what I believed and what I didn't believe. I allowed myself space to explore unanswerable questions, and to sit with doubt and honestly let it be there. My walk with God became deeper, but less defined. I began to know this true person within myself that God created, that God wanted to grow and become, thus I then put on My New Traveling Shoes.



For many years, as a wounded Christian, I lost my true self in the service of others. My life became all about helping other people, only with the motive of finding my identity in this very service. It has been a very difficult thing to see this, own this and pull away from this. When I left that Community, I became a pastor's wife, fulfilling this role for about 13 years and then became a pastor myself for 4.5 years. All the while I was beginning to see the problem that I had, and began seeking to approach ministry from a different place. My last year as pastor, I enrolled in a school for training to become a "Spiritual Director." It was a 2 year long program that I totally loved. I continued with that group for one more year for supervision. Through all of this I was brought to a place of "letting go" of all specific ministry. I feel I am called to solitude in my faith. At this point I cannot be healthy in "ministry." It has been a very painful decision in many ways but, I know a very important one for my heart, soul and mind. I find my connection with God through my relationships with family, friends and work. I feel a strong connection to the arts, singing, writing, painting, etc. I have spiritual friends that I connect with to share my faith and a quiet time where I seek to express myself and listen to God's voice each day.



I am grateful for God's leading in my life and for the grace and strength to be true to myself at this point in my life. I am open to God's calling and leading but I seek to be content right where I am at this moment. I have taken my "travelin' shoes" off for a bit to rest and reflect and I look forward to seeing where I will be going next.



Peace,



Jeanne

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I love this prayer. There was a time that I thought things were very black and white and simple in my walk with God. The Years have shown me different. I do know that God holds us, loves us, and no matter what - will be with us and teach us through all of our lives. Seeking God with all our hearts, we walk in faith, trusting God to show us the way to grow and deepen. This prayer says it all!!

A Prayer by Thomas Merton



My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I don’t see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You.

And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this, You will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Connections



It is a beautiful thing, the connections we experience in life. Whether it be with people, animals, music , art, literature...somehow that connection can be such a life changing experience. The encounter we have can give us such depth and insight. It is all important. Sweet Pea is a kitten born outside my home. I feed the ferrel cats in my neighborhood. Unlike most of the cats, she was always approaching me and trying to come in my house. Most of the other cats eat the food and at the most will rub my ankles as I put the food out but they do not want to be handled and have no desire to enter my house. When Sweet Pea was just a five months old she got very sick, so I took her to the vet and she became one of my three house cats. Yes, she is part of our family now and what a delight she is! Today I give thanks for all my connections!!!


What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.



Helen Keller