short excerpts...other writings...upon occasion or as prompted...
The tiger in the water? A representation of my life -- spirit and environment!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Listen. Such a simple idea. One we all know is important. And yet, one that we rarely incorporate into our busy lives.

We may her many things; we listen to few. Take birds, for example. They have marvelous songs. Each one is so different. Some years ago I spent ten days teaching a seminar for teachers in Chisinau, Moldova. 

We were at a conference center that was very much a resort. It was located in the woods, and each morning before the teachers (my students) arrived, I enjoyed opening the windows and hearing the songs of the swallows that sat on the branches outside and created background music for my instruction.

My very earliest memories of birds’ songs and the joy of listening come from toddler days. My father would come into my bedroom in late evening in the house we moved from when I was three, and we would sit together by the open window each night and listen to the whip-poor-wills. The bitterroot bouquet that came from listening to the whip-poor-wills remained in the toddler’s mind throughout childhood and into adulthood and for nearly thirty years since my father’s death. Although I no longer live near an area where whip-poor-wills congregate, whenever I hear any kind of bird song, I also hear the whip-poor-will, and I am transported back to a special moment.

Listening to people can be equally enjoyable. “How are you?” we often ask in passing, and the expected answer is “Fine.” We do not usually anticipate a response that is detailed, and, if we get one, we are often annoyed that we are being detained from the destination to which we were heading when we asked the question. Yet, when we take the time to ask the question for real and to listen to the answer, we often find out many things we did not know, as well as the ways in which we just might be able to help a friend or colleague in need. If nothing else, we have just made someone feel better because everyone likes to be listened to.


Excerpted and adapted from a collection of vignettes I published, copyright 2003.

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About Me

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I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism, I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).

My Other Blogs

100th Lamb. This is my main blog, the one I keep most updated.

The Clan of Mahlou
. This is background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family. It is very much a work still in progress. Soon I will begin posting excerpts from a new book I am writing, Raising God's Rainbow Makers.

Modern Mysticism. This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.

Recommended Reading List

Because I am blog inept, I don't quite know how to get a reading list to stay at the end of the page and not disappear from sight. Therefore, I entered it as my first post. I suppose that is not all that bad because readers started commenting about the books, even suggesting additional readings. So, you can participate with others in my reading list by clicking here.
I do post additional books as I read them and find them to be meaningful to me, and therefore, hopefully, meaningful to you. One advantage of all the plane traveling I do is that I acquire reading time that I might not otherwise take.