Roses and My First Blog Give-away


Photo by Joyce Takeda

1975: Walking one day with my dad in San Diego’s Balboa Park. I was a younger version of me and dad was a younger version of him. What he said during that day stayed with me all these years.

There was a popular song by Mac Davis called “Stop and Smell the Roses.” It played over and over on the radio (note to young readers: “radio” was an iPod before iPods were the brainchild of Steve Jobs).

We stopped to look at rows of delicate pink roses. The roses grew straight up and blossoms proudly opened to reveal layers of soft petals.

“You know, people always say that we should stop and smell the roses,” Dad said that morning,
“But please remember that someone took the time to plant them and nurture them so we can stop and enjoy them.”

Creativity/Virtues/Values are a bit like those roses: they grow best when we take the time to tend to them. When we accept our Creator’s invitation to partner in our own tending.

We cannot outsource our own Nurturing.

My adventure in the Be Gentle, Be Love eCourse  gave me the tools and the support. I (finally) slowed down and began to tend.
By (finally) taking the time to pause, ponder, read, reflect, synthesize, and create, my awareness and gratefulness blossomed. The experience has been reminiscent of sophomore English class only without the vocabulary to memorize. Or maybe a new vocabulary to internalize!

What I know: I am different after Day 30 than I was on Day 1


via sweetbluephotography

Like the rose, I have blossomed. I’ve been nurtured by the course, Amanda, and the course community.
…and especially by an Abundant Creator.
These gifts were there all along from the Creator to (me!)
I continue to regain my once-(loud) voice and remove the
parentheses around (me)!

I am also the first nurture-tenderer to finish the course!

As a fun celebration of crossing the BGBL finish line, Amanda Oaks, course and book creator, has offered to give a free course ebook to a friend who also wants to tend to the blossoms of her own Creativity for awhile.


Whether you're an artist, writer or someone that doesn't think you're creative at all, this book was tailored to help you dig deep inside yourself & then use what you find to create meaningful, life-shifting art.

Is that you? I hope so!
If you would like to be entered into a drawing to receive a BGBL e-coursebook, please leave a comment below describing a way
you tend to the blossoming creativity of your life. (journaling, music, dancing, praying, reading, cooking, baking, painting, etc…)

Feel free to comment each day through Wednesday, August 31.
On Thursday, September 1st a new month will start with a new gift (my first blog give-away!) for a randomly selected special someone.

Devotion~Day 30~Be Gentle, Be Love

Devotion Quote

Muse on what could symbolize devotion, a ring, two hands holding each other, animals that mate for life
… and then create something centered around your thoughts.

His hands and Our hands carry, epitomize, and manifest devotion.

Rembrandt, painted  Return of the The Prodigal Son as a portrayal of reconcilitation. He portrayed a feminine hand receiving the Prodigal upon his return. The feminine hand is delicate, nurturing, consoling and devoted.

rembrandt the prodigal, feminine hands

The world that the prodigal ventured to was punishing and chaotic. Rembrandt painted a masculine hand with the resolve of strength and firm devotion, the fingers spread to encompass and protect. Rembrandt The Prodigal masculine hand
Together both hands embrace the Prodigal devotedly.
Together both shelter, comfort, and love with agape’s unconditional love.

Rembrandts The Prodigal Both Hands
Hands of Devotion beckon, welcome the prodigal in all of us.


Just as He does…..Because of Grace.
And we prodigals receive it, the comfort, the acceptance, the rest…Because of Grace

God never stops waiting for us, just as the father never stopped waiting for his wandering son.
~Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son

Are you waiting for a return? of a love, a child, an outcome, a miracle?
Do you need to return? to a love, to a parent, to your family, to your miracle?
Please Begin Today.

This is Day 30, the final day in the Be Gentle, Be Love ebook and ecourse.

Day 29~Vision~Be Gentle, Be Love

Would I rather have vision or sight?

My best sight has occurred in hindsight, when I look back and know what I should have done.
My best vision sees beyond masks, my own and others.
These masks deceive and twist my perspective. It is yucky wearing a mask.

I would like to be near-sighted and far-sighted:

Near enough to be aware and notice the beauty of each day

Far enough into the future to sustain hope

I recently had to choose new glasses when going the bi-focal route.
When the doctor gave me the glasses, he said it would take awhile to adjust to “corrected sight”

How correct he is.


Day 29 Be Gentle, Be Love eCourse and eBook

Day 28~Gratitude~Be Gentle, Be Love

gratitude is the harmony of the heart

created by Helen

Always let your prayer take the form of thanksgiving, on the assumption that God is giving you great and wonderful things. ~Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Day 28 Be Gentle, Be Love eCourse, eBook

Visit the wonderful Gratitude Community at We Love Gratitude!

Day 27~Justice~Be Gentle, Be Love

Justice Word Art

From my dad's talks: the question in the arrow is what he would always ask. The squiggled lined phrases are what was said about him.

No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do
only a little. ~Edmund Burke

From Day 27 in the Be Gentle, Be Love e-course

For a verse that helps when we seek Justice, gently click here

Day 26~Courage~Be Gentle, Be Love and Wholehearted Living

For awhile, Thursdays will provide a Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Story.
Today it is <tentative pause> about me.
This is not a post about superhero, admirable courage akin to those who fight for us and protect us.
This is a small incident report of a few of my small steps.

Every step is a step toward taking back your life.

You deserve this. ~Amanda Oaks

A couple of weeks ago, on my birthday, I hiked.
Solitary but not Alone.
Surrounded by Abundance
Reaching the summit.
I was not at all self-conscious about making the climb sing-glee
until a younger version of me commented about it, as she took my picture.
For a long minute
or two…

my spirit fell like Peter’s did when he walked on water toward the source of his joy.
and then started thinking too much. Too much in his head.

I smiled. Pointed to a hawk, felt the breeze

And I took tender steps away
from another’s idea of companionship,
my mind filled with possibilities of

hearing the voices the Indian’s still claim to hear in the breeze
getting the t-shirt that proved I climbed
soaking in the pedicure
the iced latte(s)

The breeze swirled with this reminder…

 Baby souls follow.

Young souls lead.

But old souls are happy to dance alone. ~Mike Dooley

Day 25~Reverence~Be Gentle, Be Love

Roots of Reverence

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.  ~John Milton

My Reverence and Focus sharpen when I remember to extend gratitude for everything.


Even when I am confronted by another’s betrayal. Especially, during these times, I can calm down if I will only ask,

What is the gift in this moment and have I given thanks for it?

IS there a gift in betrayal? Is there anything to be thankful for when the lies of another pierce me?

Yes. There is gratitude for clarity. For eyes to see it (this time). And thankfulness to The Creator who never lies and always is safe to trust. Everytime. In Everything.

My Reverence and Focus gets blurry when a sense of disregard and entitlement replaces my gratitude. In these blurry places, a skewed perception of myself as a victim produces an egotistical reality. How could he/she/they do this to me? I don’t deserve this. Or worse, for the over-criticized soul like mine: What did I do wrong?

Everything is a blur of irreverence. Everything Hurts. Everything is Blurry.

everything blurs
If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life.  ~Albert Schweitzer

And that is where bitterness begins. Or re-enters.

It is time to grab on to the Rescue of 4 words. All the words begin with the letters R-E.

re- a prefix, occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, used with the meaning “again” or “again and again” to indicate repetition


Return to those friends and family who love you and me powerfully and  unconditionally. Remember that God loves you and me even more.

“My prayers continue for your happiness, contentment, courage and guidance,” my friend Lori consoles.

Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

By surrounding myself with only that which is positive, life-affirming, and nurturing, I begin to regain my footing. I read verses that focus on God’s love. My friend Garrett reminds me of the book by Brene Brown called The Gifts of Imperfection. He sends an article to me titled “You are stronger than you know.”

Restore boundaries. Refuse to participate, especially in any continuing form criticism which although subtle, still is, as damaging as physical abuse. **

Return to the Root of Reverence

Reverance Root photo by Helen Teague

Since, in this fresh pain, I have been hurt by someone close to me, I must remember to go to the root of the pain and ask God to gently heal this wound with His love.

Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Ephesians 3:16-20

With gratitude I can be aware of any insights but stop short of blaming myself, remembering, as Lori said, “There is no way you could have foreseen this behavior.”

Sometimes, I have not been hurt by another but have hurt myself through busyness and preoccupation. In these times, returning to the good roots of Reverence, Faith, and Gratitude gets rid of both of my obstacles of arrogance and ego.
Moving quickly to the Reverence of Beauty  is nourishingly helpful. Carol Burnett said to end everyday with “3 Gratefuls and 3 Did Wells.”  When I am in the downward spiral I have to begin and end everyday with this practice. I will begin (again) to do this.

The Creator is worthy of Reverence. And…You and I  are worthy of our own reverence too.

This post reflects Day 25 in the Be Gentle, Be Love e-Course created by Amanda Oaks.
Take A Walk in Reverence by gently clicking here
See also A Word from The Sponsor on Reverence by gently clicking here

**A CAUTIOUS NOTE: In situations where it is impossible to distance completely from a toxic person, Restore boundaries. Refuse to participate, especially in any continuing form criticism which is subtle, but still is, as damaging as physical abuse. You may have to leave. It is easier to type that sentence here than to put it into practice. I know. I have lived in a relationship of near-constant criticism. Please seek the help of those who truly love you.

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