Books and Music

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


I had an interesting conversation with my friend the other night who made the statement, "I don't have your confidence."

My comment to her, "Confidence is not letting people's negativity get to you. Believe me, I have had my share of negativity and it used to hurt my feelings. Then I learned that constructive criticism can be good but you don't always have to agree. The most important thing is that you remain true to yourself."

She smiled and said, "I had some people read a story I wrote and told me to change some things. I didn't change anything and won first place in a contest with my story."

I laughed. "There will always be negative people. It's part of the equation. Sometimes they might even be mean about it. I call them the poopoo people."

This conversation spurred another conversation with my son who looked up the word "confidence" in the dictionary. "Look Mom, all three times it says that confidence is "a feeling."

Merriam Webster - Confidence
1. a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something
2. a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something
3. a feeling of being certain that something will happen or that something is true

Babies are born with confidence because they are aware of their alignment with God. Then about the time children go to school they hear the words "you can't" enough times that many times they begin to believe it. It is the brave soul who survives enough challenges to get it back. Age is good for that because it changes hope to belief to knowing.

I asked my friends on facebook to share what they think confidence is and got some awesome responses. Here are some of my favorite.

Lerin Ramsey – Confidence is having the courage to believe and knowing that the next step you take is in alignment with the Higher a Greater Good

Jordan Buckingham - being in alignment with the vibration of empowerment

Christopher J Lynch - Having no fear of failure.

BG Taylor - It's pronoia, the opposite of paranoia, where a person believes that everything in the omniVerse is on their side and the odds really are always in their favor; I have it bad.

Tara Wilbanks - Feeling comfortable any place, anytime, anywhere with anyone to do anything.

Yvette Schittone - Let go, and let God

Jeff Greenwood - Having the knowing and realization that no one or no-thing is against me and every-thing is for me and directs me to my highest good

Steve Mathos - When a person feels a way, and that way is a mood within the characteristics of human nature, and that feeling resembles a feeling of being capable & able to do what we are expected to accomplish. Success is based on achievement and successful people are said to feel confident. A feeling of being capable and feeling from what has been accomplished promotes a positive ego.

Jerry Richardson - I think confidence is have a knowing of self-worth and value, That only comes from God.

Mike Denman - Having the ability to stand on my own two feet with my head held upright.

Cameron Henderson – a reasonable approximation to completion or perfection via correct.
preparation, execution, and conclusion in both interior and exterior development. That is, confidence is a result of these qualities.

Fabienne Thrash - That feeling, that internal KNOWING that you’ve GOT THIS… and to move forward.

Phyllis Odom - self-assurance

Terrie Murphy - Just being comfortable and content in your own skin with where you are at this particular point in time.

Tom Scanlan – I see confidence as a combination of competence, knowing your limitations and having the courage despite your fears.

Susan Freiler Mendenhall - I think confidence is at its highest when you feel put together mentally, know you are capable because of adequate preparation, and have the support of others whether you succeed or fail.

Debbie Wurth-Newman DeVinna - Confidence for me means that no matter the outcome of something I chose to do, at least I gave it a try and the confidence to try it again, should it fail the first time.

Unka Joe – Trust

Pamela Medley - Knowing that whatever I do, I will come out the other side. If I make a mistake, it just means I've learned another lesson.

Angela Holcomb – Blind faith in myself and God.

Me – Doing something with no attachment to the outcome

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


My good friend Barbara DeLong wrote an article  I would like to share. This was especially comforting to my husband who lost both of his brothers this year and for me after losing two of my first cousins. Barbara gave me permission to share it in a blog. If you are someone who has had a similar experience as described in her writing you will enjoy this. 
You can visit her at Barbara DeLong 

How can we tell if there is a deceased loved one around? by Barbara DeLong

When an individual passes over, after they realize that there is indeed another dimension and other loved ones around (including pets), one of the first things they want to do is to let those closest to them that they are fine and just in another realm. It is a bit frustrating because while in spirit or etheric form they have no physicality and are not able to influence the dimension or plane that they have just left in the usual ways one would. One of the most frequent reasons they want to reach out is the desire to assure loved ones that there is a new vibrancy to their vibration and that they are whole, healthy and joyful. Though they can’t get on the phone or text us there are many ways that they are able to influence the energies and send us subtle signals that, “ all is well”, “don’t worry”, “have hope”, and “I love you”.
When a loved one is lost to the other side and crossed that veil often we feel they are lost forever. Usually we look for anything that would signal they are trying to connect to us and in that intense need we often overlook the signs that they send, or even chalk those signals as “coincidence”. We need to be aware of subtle occurrences and even journal them because that validates the experience and sends the message that you got the message.
Below is a list of some of the most common ways we get messages from the other side. They are by no means all of the ways that there are signals but at least they will give you something to work with.
Dream Visitations – While this is the most common it is also the one that most will ignore and chalk it up to wishful thinking. Dream visitations differ from regular dreams in that the loved one is usually surrounded by some sort of light, they will give messages for others and probably assure you of their love. This is not a two way conversation usually but it is a way for them to confirm they are well and at peace.

Cool Spots in the room – Often when spirits are present they draw energy from the room and create “cool spots”. You can literally feel the difference in temperature, not in the whole room but in an isolated area. Again, this is one of those aspects that people usually identify as a draft, that isn’t.

Sensing their Presence – Often your higher conscience will notice a shift in the energy around you. It has also been reported that many who have been together for long periods of time report that they feel their loved one sitting next to them in quiet times. When a beloved pet passes often they are felt jumping onto the bed after they have passed.

Feeling Their Touch – Many have reported that they have felt the touch of a loved one after they have passed. Usually it is a very light touch …stroking the hair or cheek. Sometimes a touch on the back or a familiar gesture or touch that unique to that relationship.

Smelling their Fragrance – clairgustance. These visits commonly reported as the fragrance of cigarette or cigar smoke, perfume, flowers, or cooking. If you smell cigar smoke, and no one smokes in your house, except your deceased grandfather – chances are, it’ him and he’s letting you know he’s around, visiting, and saying hello. I often saw the smoke from my Grandfathers pipe around my Dalilah garden which was planted in memory of him. Shortly before dawn we would see the smoke from his pipe as he walked around the garden. My Mother recognized the fragrance as his favorite blend immediately.

Hearing Their Voice – clairaudience – It is more common to hear voices internally such as the calling of your name but there are also times when you hear the voice externally as well. This often happens when you are alone and it can be your name or just a word that has meaning to you both. It is very normal to speak to those who have passed on as though they were there, and for the most part we really don’t expect an answer. If you quiet yourself and wait, often you will get an internal answer internally. Remember that it is a spirit communicating with you and a lot easier to give you internal impressions rather than an auditory signal.

Unexpected electrical activity – This is one of my favorite ways of knowing a spirit is around. Remembering that we are electromagnetic beings. Feeling and thoughts are transmitted within us and we have an aura that can be registered electronically. One of the first things that is learned on the other side is the ability to influence and impact electronics on this side to get out attention. They are able to turn lights on and off, change the channels on the TV or turn it on and off. Street lights going on and off, the telephone ringing and there is no one there, or batteries being drained long before they should be. I have found that when visiting areas that have great antiquity to them that the batteries in cell phones or cameras often are drained immediately even when they are new.

Music- Another electrical way of communicating through electricity is songs on the radio. Often a song that has great meaning to both is played over and over on the radio, with greater frequency that is usual, or at a time that coincides with a special date to the person. It is common for a song to be played that the lyrics or title answers a question that has been lingering in the consciousness of the person still in the physical plane. We just have to remain sensitive and aware to the messages that come from the other side for they are usually quite subtle.
Symbolic messages  – Signs, coincidence or synchronicity. – Often small objects such as coins, feathers or stones are dropped or placed in our pathways. When my husband passed I kept finding pennies where they just couldn’t possibly have gotten on their own. I collected them and the more I recognized that they were a message for me the more I found … especially when I was in times of upset.

Small animals are frequently used as a signal from the other side. Butterflies, dragon flies lady bugs … usually brightly colored ones appear to be more frequently in your path way. The most common seem to be Cardinals, Jays and blue birds.
Flowers can also be a signal. Often if they bloom out of season it can be a message from the other side, or flowers that you didn’t intentionally plant sprouting in your environment. My mother loved Pussy Willows, they were her way of knowing spring was on the way and she always had one outside her bedroom window. After her passing I moved to a new location and started a new garden but didn’t plant any Pussy Willows. Two years after I moved I found one growing next to my deck… a place where there was no soil to speak of and was not really a part of my garden. Eleven years later the Pussy Willows still flourish and every spring I look for them to break through their shells and know that spring is not far off and that my Mom is sharing spring with me all over again.
Movement – The spirit world can be very playful and often they will move objects from where you usually place them. I have found keys seem to be one of their favorites (though that could just be my family). They also knock pictures of shelves or tilt those that are hanging on the walls.

These are but a few of the commonly used methods but by no means all of the ways they signal their presence. Sometimes it takes a while for them to figure out how to communicate and other times they are right there immediately … it would seem there are no rules as to how long they have to wait to touch in. We just have to be patient and sensitive to those energetic shifts that signal communication from the other side. 

Monday, December 14, 2015


"Ebony and Ivory come together in perfect harmony." 
~ Paul McCartney

Louis Armstrong. Say his name out loud. It sounds like your talking about an old friend. Hello Dolly... Wonderful World... and then there was his famous scat which was created when words were forgotten and the singer became like an instrument. Louis Armstrong began his musical career in Storyville.
Storyville was a legal red light district in New Orleans located around Basin Street, not too far from the train station. This is where jazz and blues were born. Many say the word "jazz" came from the perfume that the friendly ladies in Storyville wore. Too me, jazz is the perfect combination of black and white music coming together to form a sound. It was the music of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers of the 1920s. GO GRANNY GO! Freedom for women was in the air and jazz music was sexy and fun.

To me, jazz is a feel that can send the spirit into new dimensions. While white folks in the Western World were exploring and becoming philosophical and inventive, black folks were enjoying life in a more primordial state making them closer to nature and the natural rhythms of life. The two cultures came together to form the jazz sound. Together the jazz musicians produced chord combinations never before heard but somehow made sense musically. In a perfect jazz band, the musicians compliment each other, allowing the other player his space without making it too busy or running over each other. What a concept. 

Then there was that white boy from Memphis, who learned his music from the black folks creating a new sensation that rocked the entire world. His name was Elvis Presley. 

Creating music together brought black and white together in harmony. This is because music is a powerful tool in expressing the spirit which is the emotional sensation of the soul. I think this video really speaks well of the natural musical contribution the black culture has brought to the music we love today. If this does not move you may I suggest you get some soul therapy.


Sunday, December 13, 2015


Want something? This works for me.

1. You can ask but God already knows your deepest desire.

2. Say, "Thy will be done. I know you will give me this or something better for the highest good for all."

3. Trust God. 

4. Say, "Thank you in advance."

5. Get out of the way and expect a miracle.

Saturday, December 12, 2015


Although many of my friends have seen this picture, I have recently learned that many of them do not know the story. It is one of my favorites. ENJOY!

Our Lady of Guadalupe - Guadalupe, Mexico (1531)
Patroness of the Americas
Feast Day in the USA - December 12th

One day as Juan Diego, a poor Aztec convert, was walking to a chapel near Tepayac Hill, he encountered a beautiful woman surrounded by a ball of light as bright as the sun. Speaking in his native tongue, the beautiful lady identified herself:
"My dear little son, I love you. I desire you to know who I am. I am the ever-virgin Mary, Mother of the true God who gives life and maintains its existence. He created all things. He is in all places. He is Lord of Heaven and Earth. I desire a church in this place where your people may experience my compassion. All those who sincerely ask my help in their work and in their sorrows will know my Mother's Heart in this place. Here I will see their tears; I will console them and they will be at peace. So run now to Tenochtitlan and tell the Bishop all that you have seen and heard."
Juan Diego immediately responded to Mary's request. He went to the palace of the Bishop-elect Fray Juan de Zumarraga and requested to meet immediately with the bishop. The bishop's servants, who were suspicious of the rural peasant, kept him waiting for hours. The bishop-elect told Juan that he would consider the request of the Lady and told him he could visit him again if he so desired. Juan was disappointed by the bishop's response and felt himself unworthy to persuade someone as important as a bishop. He returned to the hill where he had first met Mary and found her there waiting for him. Imploring her to send someone else, she responded:
"My little son, there are many I could send. But you are the one I have chosen."
She then told him to return the next day to the bishop and repeat the request. On Sunday, after again waiting for hours, Juan met with the bishop who, on re-hearing his story, asked him to ask the Lady to provide a sign as a proof of who she was. Juan dutifully returned to the hill and told Mary, who was again waiting for him there, of the bishop's request.

"My little son, am I not your Mother? Do not fear. The Bishop shall have his sign. Come back to this place tomorrow. Only peace, my little son."

Unfortunately, Juan was not able to return to the hill the next day. His uncle had become mortally ill and Juan stayed with him to care for him. After two days, with his uncle near death, Juan left his side to find a priest. Juan had to pass Tepayac Hill to get to the priest. As he was passing, he found Mary waiting for him.

"Do not be distressed, my littlest son. Am I not here with you who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Your uncle will not die at this time. There is no reason for you to engage a priest, for his health is restored at this moment. He is quite well. Go to the top of the hill and cut the flowers that are growing there. Bring them then to me."

While it was freezing on the hillside, Juan obeyed Mary's instructions and went to the top of the hill where he found a full bloom of Castilian roses. Removing his tilma, a poncho-like cape made of cactus fiber, he cut the roses and carried them back to Mary. She rearranged the roses and told him:
"My little son, this is the sign I am sending to the Bishop. Tell him that with this sign I request his greatest efforts to complete the church I desire in this place. Show these flowers to no one else but the Bishop. You are my trusted ambassador. This time the Bishop will believe all you tell him."

At the palace, Juan once again came before the bishop and several of his advisers. He told the bishop his story and opened the tilma letting the flowers fall out. But it wasn't the beautiful roses that caused the bishop and his advisers to fall to their knees; for there, on the tilma, was a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary precisely as Juan had described her. The next day, after showing the Tilma at the Cathedral, Juan took the bishop to the spot where he first met Mary. He then returned to his village where he met his uncle who was completely cured. 

His uncle told him he had met a young woman, surrounded by a soft light, who told him that she had just sent his nephew to Tenochtitlan with a picture of herself. She told his uncle:
"Call me and call my image Santa Maria de Guadalupe".

It's believed that the word Guadalupe was actually a Spanish mis-translation of the local Aztec dialect. The word that Mary probably used was Coatlallope which means "one who treads on snakes"! Within six years of this apparition, six million Aztecs had converted to Catholicism. The tilma shows Mary as the God-bearer - she is pregnant with her Divine Son. Since the time the tilma was first impressed with a picture of the Mother of God, it has been subject to a variety of environmental hazards including smoke from fires and candles, water from floods and torrential downpours and, in 1921, a bomb which was planted by anti-clerical forces on an altar under it. There was also a cast-iron cross next to the tilma and when the bomb exploded, the cross was twisted out of shape, the marble altar rail was heavily damaged and the tilma was...untouched! Indeed, no one was injured in the Church despite the damage that occurred to a large part of the altar structure.

In 1977, the tilma was examined using infrared photography and digital enhancement techniques. Unlike any painting, the tilma shows no sketching or any sign of outline drawn to permit an artist to produce a painting. Further, the very method used to create the image is still unknown. The image is inexplicable in its longevity and method of production. It can be seen today in a large cathedral built to house up to ten thousand worshipers. It is, by far, the most popular religious pilgrimage site in the Western Hemisphere.


Friday, December 11, 2015


Where is your heaven on earth?
Where is that special place where you feel peace and joy?
I know for my husband and my son it’s going fishing.
For me it’s sitting on the beach watching the waves break on the sand.
I asked a little girl one time to tell me about heaven. 
She said, “Heaven is where dreams come true.”
I just loved that.
Have you ever had a “dream come true?”
I have and it was awesome.
Let’s look at the wisdom of this familiar song.

Row Row Row your boat gently down the stream. 
Merrily Merrily Merrily Merrily
Life is but a dream

Row Row Row your boat - Live your life with purpose.
Gently down the stream - Don't force it. Trust God to guide you along.
Merrily Merrily Merrily Merrily - God created this beautiful earth for us to be happy.
Life is but a dream - God is the only thing that is real.

As the little girl said, “Heaven is where dreams come true.” 
I say, look for heaven on earth. You don't want to miss the party!

Thursday, December 10, 2015


My journey in music has taken me to many places, one being a burn camp for children in Northern California. It is a place where kids with severe burn scars come together every year. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

One day at the burn camp I saw two boys, about ten years old, fighting. I stopped them.
"What happened? Why are you fighting?" 

"He called me black," one little boy said in anger.

"You are black," I responded. "And there is nothing wrong with that! But if you fight about it you are saying that there is. When someone calls you black just say thank you and be proud of it." Then I hugged him and told him I loved him.

Then there's the politically correct Thing. This wears me out. I never understood why they took that cute little Chihuahua out of the Taco Bell commercials. I loved that little dog. "Yo quiero Taco Bell." (I want Taco Bell) BRILLIANT! That commercial always made me hungry for a burrito. 

I say let's celebrate cultures. Who doesn't like a good taco or enchilada? Taking the Chihuahua dog out of the commercial says Mexican is not OK. So should a golden retriever be in the commercial? Would that make it politically correct? PLEASE!

My Tita was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. She was my grandmother. I loved my Tita and still do. I wish I could cook like her and make her Spanish rice. Every day Tita would have her "copita" at 4pm (tea time). Many times it was a glass of Jose Cuervo gold tequila with salt and lime and some snacks. Jose Cuervo you are a friend of mine was the number one country song of the year in 1983. I wrote it. Thank God I have that Mexican blood in me. The song just would not have been the same if it was about beer, wine, scotch, gin, whiskey or even moonshine. I owe my songwriting success to my Mexican heritage and my Tita. That makes me proud. I always tell my Mexican friends, "I'm in the club!" These days I am working on speaking Spanish better.

To understand something it is best to look at its opposite. Wonder if all of us were the same race, spoke the same language, ate the same food, listened to the same music, wore the same uniform, had the same hairstyle, had the same ideas and so on? We might as well be robots. BORING!! 

And then there's the religion thing. One day at Curves I got into a conversation with a Hindu woman. "Tell me about your religion," I asked her. She started talking about love and brotherhood and all kinds of beautiful things. "Really?" I commented. "Maybe I'm Hindu." She even invited me to her temple.

Now Jesus... he had the right idea! He loves everyone! He told us that we are ALL brothers and sisters. I don't think he would have ever participated in the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition or joined the Ku Klux Klan even though they call themselves Christians. Personally, I am all about LOVE just like Jesus. And what about those forms where you check off your race? I always check OTHER (if they have it) and then write in the word HUMAN.

I say, "Viva la difference!" Diversity makes the world more interesting. Embrace it! It makes life a lot more fun to live in harmony and celebrate our differences. Have you ever been in the Its a Small World ride at Disneyland? Now that's what I'm talking about.

If you haven't experienced the ride here it is, Christmas 2015. It makes me smile. LOVE TO ALL!