Knotty Musings

Ideas, philosophies, and evil plots to take over the world through love hatched here.

I Am Enough

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically
liberates others." ~ Marianne Williamson

Remove the Nots

Remove the Nots

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NY Thanksgiving 2009

Hello friends,

As many of you know, we spent the holiday in Upstate New York - Syracuse and Utica. We got the chance to meet our niece, Mimi for the first time. She is 9 months old and a baby doll. Her older brother, Manu is a bundle of energy and was quite the challenge with Chutes and Ladders! Grandma, Grandpa, David and I, and Manu all played and he was sooooo dramatic. Every time he spun he would put his hand to his forehead and say, " A four - what will I do with a four ( or five, etc)

My sister-in-law, Adzele (Ad-gel-e) and I did a crochet lesson and made granny squares. It was a blast!

David carved the turkey and we attended a pie party at the home of some longtime friends of my mother-in-law whose home has a Norwegian theme, hence the masks.

A Few Thoughts on Prayer

Andy Rooney and Prayer

Andy Rooney says:

I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don't agree with Darwin , but I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his Theory of Evolution.

Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game. So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire Book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game.

But it's a Christian prayer, some will argue.

Yes, and this is the United States of America , a country founded on Christian principles. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect -- somebody chanting Hare Krishna?

If I went to a football game in Jerusalem , I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer...

If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad , I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer.

If I went to a ping pong match in China , I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha.

And I wouldn't be offended. It wouldn't bother me one bit.
When in Rome .....

But what about the atheists? Is another argument.

What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that's asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!

Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world's foundations.

Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights.. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating, to pray before we go to sleep.
Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying.

God, help us. And if that last sentence offends you, well, just sue me.

The silent majority has been silent too long. It's time we tell that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard that the vast majority doesn't care what they want. It is time that the majority
Rules! It's time we tell them, You don't have to pray; you don't have to say the Pledge of Allegiance; you don't have to believe in God or attend services that honor Him. That is your right, and we will honor your right; but by golly, you are no longer going to take our rights away. We are fighting back, and we WILL WIN!

God bless us one and all .. Especially those who denounce Him
, God bless America, despite all her faults. She is still the greatest nation of all. God bless our service men who are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God.

Let's make 2009
the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions . And our military forces come home from all the wars.

Keep looking up.

Memory Tree

I pull the boxes of ornaments from the closet and prepare myself for a trip into
the past. No photo album can bring back as many memories as my box of ornaments.
Like a picture, each ornament contains a memory.

There's the box of wooden ones, handmade and painted with care. Within the assortment is a small man on skis, a mouse on a swing, even Santa in his sleigh. I
remember when my Georgia I bought them. It was our first Christmas as a married
couple. We hung them on the tree and dreamed how our future children would love them.

I pick up a ceramic Santa. My aunt gave it to me when I was four. He holds a
tiny box in his hands. There's a tear in it's wrapper, a tear caused by a boy who couldn't
contain his curiosity.

A tiny brass bell is next. My brothers and I had fun with this bell. We took
turns hiding it in the tree. The others had to find it. We played "Find the Bell," until mom
yelled at us for shaking the tree to make the bell ring and reveal its hiding spot.
Brass Bell
Mom knew how much the bell meant to me. The year I had my own family, she
gave me the bell. I played the same game with my own children.

I pick up a pretty red ball. My daughter touched it when she was two. We'd put
Venessa down for her nap and decorated while she slept. We wanted to surprise her.

We finished I sat back with a glass of eggnog and waited for her to wake.

I see her face again. She ran from her room, fully charged and ready to take on
the world. She was five feet from the tree before she looked up and stopped. Her eyes
opened wide. Her jaw dropped open, as she emitted a small cry of delight. She walked
forward, raised her hand, and touched a red ball - the ball now held in my hand.

Vanessa Xmas

She turned to me. Her eyes reflected the colored lights. "Daddy, what is

"It's Christmas, Sweetie." My voice quivered with emotion, "It's Christ's
birthday. We're going to celebrate it."

Her sparkling eyes, hanging jaw, and soft skin made me hold my arms out. She
ran into them and gave me a hug that would have melted even Scrooge's hard heart.

I pick up a cracked green ball, a veteran of the first time I allowed my kids to
decorate the tree. They hung all the balls on one branch. When they turned for another, I
quickly moved the one before it to a better spot. I laughed when they told Grandma they
decorated all by themselves.

Near the bottom of the box, I find a brass plaque. It brings back a special
memory. It has my son's name and birth date on it. Justin was supposed to be a New
Year's Eve baby, but he decided he wasn't going to miss Christmas.

Justin was three weeks old, when we took him to the Christmas Eve service at
our church. That night, our minister explained to us the real meaning of Christmas. As
she spoke, she wandered down the aisle and stopped beside us. She reached down and
asked, "May I?" I nodded and handed him to her. She lifted him into her arms.

She was quiet as she walked back to face the congregation. Turning, she held
my son high and said, "This is the real meaning of Christmas: The birth of a new life!"

She cradled my son as she spoke. A single tear trickled down my cheek. She
walked around the sanctuary, displaying my son to those gathered for the Christmas
service. The room seemed empty of everyone but her and my family. Overtaken with
emotion, I reached out, hugged Georgia and Vanessa to my side, and thought, "This
will be a Christmas to remember."

Justin Christmas

In 2003 I pulled the ornaments out again. Justin and I were not going to be
home for Christmas that year. We were going to spend Christmas with friends in Ohio,
but I wanted Christmas to be the way it always was. I wanted Christmas to be the way
Justin remembered.

Georgia had died two months earlier. Justin and I were alone in New Jersey.
Vanessa was in Ohio. It had to be the way it was before - the tree perfect. The
ornaments - the memories - had new meaning that Christmas. The memories of
happiness were raw, but the tree over came them. A tear trickled from my eye. Good
things may pass, but their memories hang on.

A year later, I hung a new ornament on our tree. It was one I got for Ginny, my new wife. It's a penguin. Ginny loves penguin. This year, I have one she gave me to hang. It's an
Ohio State Football ornament - new pages added to my album.

I hang my personal album for all to see, sit back and relax. For several weeks,
I search my magical tree until I find my special spot. It could be anywhere on the tree,
but I know it's there - a spot where light shines perfectly on one or two balls and reflects
off a length of tinsel. It's perfect in every way.

I lock my eyes on it and enjoy its beauty. I relive my life. It's there for all
to enjoy. I invite you to share it with me. Look at the ornaments. Flip the pages. Share
my life. It's my magical tree

Michael T. Smith

Note: This year we are living with Ginny's daughter's family. They don't have room for my
big tree. My ornaments will stay packed away for another year. Next year they will be even
more special.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Festival of Trees - A Taste of Christmas

Hello friends,

It's been a while since I've written but I have a moment to take a breather so I thought I'd share some pictures with you. Yesterday David and I went to the Festival of Trees at the local casino. There were over 100 decorated trees, which are then auctioned off and the funds are used to pay for arts programs throughout the year.

Here is a glimpse of what we saw:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Love Like The Sun and The Moon

I truly wish that I was young and before I entered into an abusive relationship, someone would have shared this information with me, but I share it now with all of you.

"Love like the sun and the moon"
By Bob Perks

There is a wonderful, romantic line in a movie that
has been used over and over...

"You complete me!"

It is a sweet thing to say to someone you love.
I am not so sure it's true.

This came to me when someone told me that they were
nothing without love in their life.

They had written:

"I want to love and be loved after all that is
what gives meaning to life"

I thought about that. Yes, to love and be loved
is important, but it is not all that gives meaning
to life.

I replied:

"Love does not give meaning to life. You need to
put life in your love for living."

First loving life itself acknowledges your most
important relationship...the one with God.

So, "you complete me," implies that God created
something incomplete.

You can find a good example of relationships in the
natural world. Like the sun and the moon.When one is down the other rises to the occasion.
You can depend on them both to always be there.
Even though there is a great distance between them,
the light from one shines on the other.
Each is complete on its own, serving the purpose God

Love is not completing but complimenting.

My wife adds to who I am. Together we are more
than we were separately. That is incredible.

Don't try to find love to fill what you see as an
empty spot. Love wraps around like a blanket,
it's not just to fill holes in your life.

Look for someone who will add to your
life and you to theirs.

If you feel incomplete, ask God to help you see
how complete you are already.

May the light of love shine upon you always.
"I wish you enough!"
Bob Perks
I encourage you to share my stories but
I do ask that you keep my name and contact
information with my work.

If you would like to receive Bob's Inspirational
stories, please visit
and submit your email address.
"I Wish You enough!"
© 2001 Bob Perks
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear
much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

P.O. Box 1702
Shavertown, Pa. 18708
Contact Bob

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Final Inspection


The Army Soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.
'Step forward now, Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
My Church have you been true?'
The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep....
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here,
Lord, It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.
There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
'Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'
~Author Unknown~

Define A Veteran

Define a Veteran:

Whether active duty, retired, national guard

or reserve - is someone who, at one point in

their life, wrote a blank check made payable to

The United States of America for an amount

up to and including their life. That is HONOR, and

there are way too many people in this country

who no longer understand it.

-Author unknown-

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hello There

Hi everyone,

Sorry that I've been so quiet here lately: I'm swamped with projects and there is not enough time in the day sometimes. The relationship violence workshop that I'm presenting at church is next weekend, so I'm preparing the handouts, practicing telling my story and moving smoothly from transition to transition, etc. I have to practice my Messiah score later this afternoon since rehearsals are tomorrow.

School starts when I return from NY after Thanksgiving, so I need to get to work on trying to understand my algebra. . .the list goes on and on.

It is a gorgeous fall day; most of the leaves are off our trees already but the temps are 73.

Friday, November 6, 2009


December 1, 2003

As the holiday of Thanksgiving approaches, I wish each of you a happy holiday and ask you to think about the meaning of the word Thanksgiving. So often we get caught up in the pageantry that surrounds this holiday, and forget just who we are thankful for.

In life, you will meet many people along the way. Each person who touches our life brings a gift. Some will touch you more than others, but each person comes into your life for a reason. Many times we don't exactly know why. This person could be a teacher, a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a friend or a stranger. Maybe this person listens when we need to talk or cry. Maybe they help us financially when we are broke. Maybe they talk to us, when we need a different perspective. Maybe they hold us when we don't deserve it. Maybe they sit with us when our grief is too much to bear alone. Maybe they are just there, so we know we are not alone.

How have we acknowledged this help? Have we taken their gifts of love, compassion, and hope out into the world and offered it to others? We all need to give something back to this world that will help others along their paths. I think we all need to be more thankful. This year, stop, think, and remember all of the people who have crossed your paths and be thankful for them. Say it out loud, say it in silence, but say it.

--- Marlene


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Finish Each Day and Be Done With It

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense."

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Change Begins with Choice

by Jim Rohn

Any day we wish; we can discipline ourselves to change it all. Any day we wish; we can open the book that will open our mind to new knowledge. Any day we wish; we can start a new activity. Any day we wish; we can start the process of life change. We can do it immediately, or next week, or next month, or next year.

We can also do nothing. We can pretend rather than perform. And if the idea of having to change ourselves makes us uncomfortable, we can remain as we are. We can choose rest over labor, entertainment over education, delusion over truth, and doubt over confidence. The choices are ours to make. But while we curse the effect, we continue to nourish the cause. As Shakespeare uniquely observed, "The fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves." We created our circumstances by our past choices. We have both the ability and the responsibility to make better choices beginning today. Those who are in search of the good life do not need more answers or more time to think things over to reach better conclusions. They need the truth. They need the whole truth. And they need nothing but the truth.

Everything you want in life is within your reach. And getting your every want is just a matter of taking charge.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A President Without A Country

The president without a country

The president without a country
By Pat Boone

"We're no longer a Christian nation." - President Barack Obama, June 2007

America has been arrogant." - President Barack Obama

"After 9/11,
America didn't always live up to her ideals."- President Barack Obama

"You might say that
America is a Muslim nation."- President Barack Obama, Egypt 2009

Thinking about these and other statements made by the man who wears the title of president. I keep wondering what country he believes he's president of.

In one of my very favorite stories, Edward Everett Hale's "The Man without a Country," a young Army lieutenant named Philip Nolan stands condemned for treason during the Revolutionary War, having come under the influence of Aaron Burr. When the judge asks him if he wishes to say anything before sentence is passed, young Nolan defiantly exclaims, "Damn the
United States ! I wish I might never hear of the United States again!"

The stunned silence in the courtroom is palpable, pulsing. After a long pause, the judge soberly says to the angry lieutenant: "You have just pronounced your own sentence. You will never hear of the
United States again. I sentence you to spend the rest of your life at sea, on one or another of this country's naval vessels - under strict orders that no one will ever speak to you again about the country you have just cursed."

And so it was Philip Nolan was taken away and spent the next 40 years at sea, never hearing anything but an occasional slip of the tongue about America. The last few pages of the story, recounting Nolan's dying hours in his small stateroom - now turned into a shrine to the country he fore swore - never fail to bring me to tears. And I find my own love for this dream, this miracle called
America , refreshed and renewed. I know how blessed and unique we are.

But reading and hearing the audacious, shocking statements of the man who was recently elected our president - a young black man living the impossible dream of millions of young Americans, past and present, black and white - I want to ask him, "Just what country do you think you're president of?"

You surely can't be referring to the
United States of America , can you? America is emphatically a Christian nation, and has been from its inception! Seventy percent of her citizens identify themselves as Christian. The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution were framed, written and ratified by Christians. It's because this was, and is, a nation built on and guided by Judeo-Christian biblical principles that you, sir, have had the inestimable privilege of being elected her president.

You studied law at Harvard, didn't you, sir? You taught constitutional law in
Chicago ? Did you not ever read the statement of John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and an author of the landmark "Federalist Papers": "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers - and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation - to select and prefer Christians for their rulers"?

In your studies, you surely must have read the decision of the Supreme Court in 1892: "Our lives and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian."

Did your professors have you skip over all the high-court decisions right up till the mid 1900's that echoed and reinforced these views and intentions? Did you pick up the history of American jurisprudence only in 1947, when for the first time a phrase coined by Thomas Jefferson about a "wall of separation between church and state" was used to deny some specific religious expression - contrary to Jefferson ' s intent with that statement?

Or, wait a minute . were your ideas about
America 's Christianity formed during the 20 years you were a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ under your pastor, Jeremiah Wright? Is that where you got the idea that " America is no longer a Christian nation"? Is this where you, even as you came to call yourself a Christian, formed the belief that " America has been arrogant"?

Even if that's the understandable explanation of your damning of your country and accusing the whole nation (not just a few military officials trying their best to keep more Americans from being murdered by jihadists) of "not always living up to her ideals," how did you come up with the ridiculous, alarming notion that we might be "considered a Muslim nation"?

Is it because there are some 2 million or more Muslims living here, trying to be good Americans? Out of a current population of over 300 million, 70 percent of whom are Christians? Does that make us, by any rational definition, a "Muslim nation"?

Why are we not, then, a "Chinese nation"? A "Korean nation"? Even a "Vietnamese nation"? There are even more of these distinct groups in
America than Muslims. And if the distinction you're trying to make is a religious one, why is America not "a Jewish nation"? There's actually a case to be made for the latter, because our Constitution - and the success of our Revolution and founding - owe a deep debt to our Jewish brothers.

Have you stopped to think what an actual Muslim
America would be like? Have you ever really spent much time in Iran ? Even in Egypt ? You, having been instructed in Islam as a kid at a Muslim school in Indonesia and saying you still love the call to evening prayers, can surely picture our nation founded on the Quran, not the Judeo-Christian Bible, and living under Shariah law. Can't you? You do recall Muhammad's directives [Surah 9:5,73] to "break the cross" and "kill the infidel"?

It seems increasingly and painfully obvious that you are more influenced by your upbringing and questionable education than most suspected. If you consider yourself the president of a people who are "no longer Christian," who have "failed to live up to our ideals," who "have been arrogant," and might even be "considered Muslim" - you are president of a country most Americans don't recognize.

Could it be you are a president without a country?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Special Grocery List


Louise Redden, a poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face, walked into a grocery store.

She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few

She softly explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work, they had seven children and they needed food.

John Longhouse, the grocer, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store at once..

Visualizing the family needs, she said: 'Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can.'

John told her he could not give her credit, since she did not have a charge account at his store.

Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the conversation between the two. The customer walked forward and told the grocer that he would stand good for whatever she needed for her family. The grocer said in a very reluctant voice, 'Do you have a grocery list?'

Louise replied, 'Yes sir.' 'O.K' he said, 'put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries..'

Louise hesitated a moment with a bowed head,
then she reached into her purse and took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it. She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully with her head still bowed.

The eyes of the grocer and the customer showed amazement when the scales went down and stayed down.

The grocer, staring at the scales, turned slowly to the customer and said begrudgingly, 'I can't believe it.'

The customer smiled and the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales. The scale did not balance so he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales would hold no more.

The grocer stood there in utter disgust. Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with greater amazement.

It was not a grocery list, it was a prayer, which said:

'Dear Lord, you know my needs and I am leaving this in your hands.'

The grocer gave her the groceries that he had
gathered and stood in stunned silence.

Louise thanked him and left the store.... The other customer handed a fifty-dollar bill to the grocer and said; 'It was worth every penny of it. Only God Knows how much a prayer weighs..'