Posts tagged: love







At night I lay me down to sleep

 The pillow soft beneath my cheek 


I snuggle warm into my bed

             I try not to think

                                                            Try not to weep

                                          For all those who cannot sleep


air born drones

 Who fear the drones overhead

The terror across the

   World we spread

                     In the guise of peace.


   War on terror is

     What we claim

drone button

     Killing by another name

Disguising greed.

We’re all insane

To believe.


          It started in the

            Very beginning

          Cane and Able

Cane killing able

             Doing the killing.

          God overlooked

             This genetic flaw

          Looked at his creation

             With awe…

           Said that it was good.



Cannot he look atrose heart

Us and see

That peaceful and

Loving we will not be?





     The killing gene…


         Sticks and stones                       caveman with club

      Broke our bones

            Then came

      Bows and arrows.



Out came the knives

The blood flows

hand knife


Insanity grows

tough-guy-pilgrim-gun-hat-graphic-27133219Gunpowder was



           Then we flew like birds

            Peace just a word.

          On the black– winged crows                  Black-Hawk-Bombing-Run-(Dropping-Bombs)

                  The killing grows

               Bombs blowing us away.



The mushroom cloud


Silenced the crowd

With threats of annihilation

Man thought a while

Then began to smile.



          The Gods–yours and mine

               Were at fault

          From the beginning.


           They gave us a gene

              That was obscene…

           All about winning.




Our children will continue

The fight

woman gunWomen joining

For might makes right…

Not a word about sinning.






          You wonder why

             I cannot sleep?

          You wonder why

               It is I weep?


Is God so  blind

He cannot see

What a mess

He’s made of me.



          Or is it just evolution

               Our destroying,

         Our pollution?  It seems

               To me that  God is sleeping

         Doesn’t hear my cry, my weeping.


Cannot see that all


is and alwaysfaith hope and love

Will be blind

To LOVE  being the answer.




    Fear is the cancer gene.

            Is life becoming obscene?

                    Yet we cling.

bird at sunset Jodi

And for just a moment

As the sun goes down

The din quiets

I look around.

          The birds settle into

             Their nests

                                                 He holds his child

To his breastman embracing child



 Sea and birds Jodi

 The waves murmur

            Against the shore

And I dream

It’s just an illusion

This thing called war.



peace birdPEACE


          All is quiet, the night clings

             I arise…quiet breathing

                    As he sleeps.

         The floor boards creak.

I click a switchAnimated-fire-1-lighting-stuff-on-fire-973753_650_520

The fireplace burns,

No wood to chop

Or carry in,

No lamp to light

                                                            Stop worrying.


           A fireman rescues

              A cat in a tree

Fireman cat tree 2

         I look for my glasses

             So I can seesunburst-dandelion_2568286

        The sun’s soft glow.

            Another day.

       The waves wrinkle

           Across the bay,


waves on Bay


Trees hushed  awaiting

The sun’s first ray.rising sun tree

The birds return,

            Feed along the shore,

birds on shore                                      The coffee perks

                                       The dog snores.


          The paper lies outside the door.

The headlines?



No Curtain Call?




curtain opening









Thespian masks


               LIFE’S  LIGHTS DIMMED







               WARMING MY HEART


Poo hugging copyThe trips on the beach at sunset



             EVER CLOSER

man woman embracing












                                                                     ONLY SILENCE




beach photo




You had no more need 

of  sandals for your feet.

Nor of a body infested with demons

                 Your love and courage could not defeat.

         Why? Why?

  Unknowing…why they fed

           Upon your love with hate

                Consuming all but your soul.

                                I do not know.

Triumphantly you left them here

Left them all behind

Shook free of death’s final grasp

To be free, free at last,

free at last!

Sandles 1

Together you and I deny…

Deny separation.

Your spark lives on…

You are not gone.

You and I still wander here

         In earthly sandal shoes.

With our toes in silky sand

Planting flowers in earth’s rich land.

We protest,  you and I…

                       Together we take a stand

              Against injustice, against the wars

                                    That infest this suffering land.

Always one, we celebrate

               The birth of family souls.

Baby stork

 Sometimes the ache

          Of my unknowing

      Stops my breath–takes its toll.

          Yet, in the quiet of the night

  I feel you close, tho out of sight

I know you’re near…you sooth my fear

With perfect love that flows

 Across the abyss of my unknowing.

Each day I slide my feet

                     Into your earth- scuffed shoes.

                             It seems I’ve yet to understand…

                    I must pay my earthly dues.

Together  we travel in memory

                                   Until the day I too will  leave

          Your shoes all scuffed and worn,

                                  When into a new life I will be born.

          There is no death,  you and I

                    Together always…will forever share

                                                       The peace of perfect love.

faith hope and




By Pat Engebrecht

In the early morning hours

When the sun’s rays are low

 Slanting through the bower

  Reflecting dawn’s golden glow.

I think of you.

In the quiet awakening of the day

I sit  on the garden bench

Alone with you in my special way

Of remembering.  I feel your presence

In my heart. 

 The spider’s weaving of the night

Catches dew in gossamer threads

Reflecting in those early rays

The sight of you.  Our love spreads

Warming  me through and through.

Life’s promises we shared

The Laughter and the tears.

These memories

Grow sweeter with the passing years

    As you live in the garden of my heart. 








LIFE: The above little ditty is one that we chanted as kids which made us giggle, little knowing the words described it all. With the passing years each of us experience the pathos, the joy, the pain, mental and physical.  If we are lucky, we enter the “Golden Years.”   Aging is a wonderful thing.  Think of the alternative.  So here I am in the final decade of my life (according to statistics) still asking the same questions that I started asking when I finally got old enough to realize that I was not the center of creation and some very unpleasant things were happening to me. I wanted to know WHY?    Why me?  Well, let me tell you, all through my life I’ve had this ugly turkey buzzard sitting on my shoulder that squawks at me things like,WHY NOT?”  Or if I start to criticize my friends or husband it pipes up with, AND YOU’RE SO PERFECT!”  No sympathy at all.  So my question has turned from, “Why me?” to “What’s the point?”  Life.


Cane killing able

Obviously God must have hiccuped, for somehow a “war gene” has slipped into that mud in creation...why else would Cain kill Able?  Why else Genghis Kahn?  Hitler?  And then in our wonderful country, The United States of America,  Democracy” was born and the “common man” rose to power.  Things were going to change–no more corruption, no more wars, no more–ooops. Every man was going to have an equal chance,  one man, one vote–that is if you were white.  The blacks complained.  Oh all right let’s let them vote Women?  Good grief, what do they know?  Recently I complained to my husband about how politics had gone to hell in a hand basket,  Washington was broken,  our wonderful elected officials were on the “dole” from lobbyists working for  big corporations sanctified by “Citizens United” and now we have the best government  money can buy.  Along came Obama and I was proud of us…the distance we have traveled from the Civil War, the Klu Klux Clan…Low and behold, a black man at the helm…but…oh dear.  The Republicans (of which I am a registered member) decided to show that “upstart!  To Hell with the country…they just decided to say “NO!  Blocked him at every turn…breaking the law does not bother them even refusing Obama  his  constitutional right of selecting a #Supreme Court judge for consideration.  And now we are faced with The Donald!   Donald Trump about to win the Republican nomination  to run for President of this great nation which was founded on religious freedom…Donald seems to disagree…Muslim?  Uh Uh…back to your own country.  Mexican?  Immigrant?  Sorry…not enough jobs for you.  Hillary for the Democrats?  “Not a Clinton, not a Bush!”  is my husband’s mantra.  Could a woman do worse?  Baggage…e mails, Benghazi,  but…mostly being female.  We are still waiting to have equal rights…never passed.       

Perhaps my cynicism  comes with age, or is it knowledge?  You know what they say:  “A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.”  Well, I’m no Whiz Kid but after watching the movie, #The Conspiracy produced by Robert Redford.  I began to realize that our “Land of the Free Home of the Brave”  was not ever what I thought it was.    The ink wasn’t dry on that esteemed document (the Constitution) when #President Lincoln was assassinated.  President Johnson teamed up with Stanton, Secretary of War,  and #Mary Surratt was railroaded to become the first woman ever to be hanged by the U.S. Government.    According to Johnson,  “She feathered the nest that hatched the egg…”  Stanton?  He was convinced that Mary had to hang to “Save the Union.”  This was accomplished by  every conniving act that could be used to railroad Mary who owned the boarding house where John Booth and  her son with others plotted to avenge the South.  She was tried in a military court.  Illegal.  Her appointed lawyer, Aiken,  had no experience.  The last minute attempt to save Mary’s life by Aiken with a writ of #Habeascorpus obtained from Judge Wylie in the middle of the night and presented to President Johnson who overrode its authority and told the court to “proceed” with the execution.

My outrage left me sputtering.  “Ah, just a movie, don’t believe all you see,”  my husband scoffed.   Thus I started a bit of research.  Fact after fact from the movie proved true. The  critics of Conspiracy  found little to criticize regarding the facts presented in Redford’s movie, so  satisfied themselves by pointing to erroneous depiction of superficial details, of lighting, hair styles, beards, etc.

Mary Surratt’s son, the proven spy, was later acquitted (hung jury) when tried by a civilian court.   Today’s politics?  Business as usual which brings me back to my question, “What’s the point?”  Life.

gallows     See full details of Mary Surratt’s trial in the archives of this blog.

My solution?  Turn off the television, delete Twitter, Facebook, all the rest of the social media,  walk the beach and collect my shells.  Quitter?  If you say so, but I have only a few  years left according to the life-expectancy tables, and I would like to spend them with Baby Girl,  my adorable little Shih Tzu that we rescued from the local animal shelter,  and my “forgiving” husband of sixty years.  I’m putting the quest to “know” the unknowable to rest, and plan to stop giving advice to my two sons, their wives and my nine grandchildren!  They  should be so lucky.  I can see their eyes rolling in their heads as I type these words.



As things go my husband and I have been very healthy, but with age comes the creaking joints, insomnia, skin cancer, prostate problems (him, not me) and since Obama Care you begin to look into health care costs.  You take more vitamins, listen more closely to holistic gurus who tell you that doctors are killing you with all their drugs that come with a list of life-threatening side effects more lethal than the benefits you are seeking.  Their advice:  Send away for their pills, and…maybe,  #Meditate.    

Today even the professional medical people are beginning to agree that there is a connection between healing and meditating.  Of course Big Pharma says it’s all “balderdash”  that all we need to do to stay/get  well is to take a pill.  The surgeons swear by the scalpel,  the religious folk by #prayer.

I first tried meditation some forty years ago.  Paid my $75.  Memorized  my #MANTRA, came home, fixed up my “special place”  in the den near the fireplace, settled my tush into my over–sized pillow, closed my eyes, touched forefinger to thumb, breathed deeply, and began to chant.  I tried to ignore Fred’s (our white, undersized sheep dog) whining.  Continued my chanting.  The whining turned into a nose under my elbow pushing my arm upward.

“Enough, Fred!”  I escorted him from the den into the laundry room, slammed the door and went back to my cushion, resettled  myself and started over.  A few minutes passed before the barking and scratching began.  I tried to shut it out…chanted louder, the barking grew in intensity.  The knot in my gut hardly resembled the peace and tranquility meditation was supposed to create.  I let Fred out of he laundry room.   He came in and settled himself on the rug in front of the fire.

I picked up my cushion, went upstairs to me daughter’s bedroom, climbed up the ladder to the loft, settled in and began to chant, softly this time so not to disturb Fred.  I was really beginning to feel myself relax, going deeper and deeper and then the wine, and the scratching.  I ignored it.  Breathed deeper, chanted louder until I was almost shouting over the whining that had turned to barking.  I crawled over to the edge of the loft and looked down.  There was Fred almost two rungs up the ladder clinging with his front paws.

This is going to work.  I’m sitting in the car in the garage, the temperature outside is 20 degrees.  I’m dressed in my warmest ski jacket, woolen hat, ski gloves.  My breath makes little puffs settling on the windshield, fogging it.  I start my breathing, chanting.  My toes are numb, my nose is dripping and all I can see behind my closed lids is Fred lying on the rug in front of the fire.   My other attempts at meditating over the years  have proved as futile.

Fred "Got it"

Life’s question, “What’s the point?” still echoes.  I’ve taken to reading some of the many miracle cures boasted on the internet.  Self diagnosing.  You’d be surprised at the number of ailments I have discovered.  Like Madigan, our favorite women comedian who doesn’t worry about ghosts, Daracula, or the latest villain, she is horrified by the mole on her wrist that has changed color and increased in size.  Not that is frightening.   I read the various health newsletter with their claims guaranteeing to cure diabetes in two weeks, to end your tinnitus (ringing in the ear) with a simple…I’m really into it, I turn the page.  For $25.00  they will send you the full report.  ‘Miracle Cures ‘ one for every ailment.    My late father-in-law, a doctor,  once told me , “I have never cured anyone,”  I’ve held their hand until they cured themselves.”  Hmmm, I thought.  Could it actually be that simple?

Gary Zukav,  in his best-selling book, #THE SEAT OF THE SOUL, presents an interesting connection between the soul and the personality (ego?).  Refers to our  “Earth School,”  the purpose of our existence, the intangible connections between matter and energy, reincarnation, science and soul, cure and healing.   I, being very simple minded, recall the words to a tune: “..I  whistle a happy tune, and the happiness in that tune, convinces me that I’m not afraid.”    Does it?  

Mind over matter.  Of course, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.  Sounds simple enough.  We scoff and go on with our daily trivia that makes up our lives getting  jealous, angry, laughing, crying.  And try as I may, I can’t help myself, the question I swore to give up lingers. “What’s the point?”

“Is this all there is?”  Peggy Lee sings a mournful tune.    The words echo.  Is it enough?  Does there need to be a purpose to life?

“May the Force be with you.”  George W. Lucas, Jr., Star Wars  (the following meditation is taken from the book,  LIFE MEDITATIONS,  by Edward J. Lavin, S.J.

THE SOUL HEALS   and science cures.  This new distinction between #healing and #curing is not so easy to understand, but it is easy enough to experience.  The intricate numbers and endless repetitions of science create giant scalpels and almost magical potions to destroy the dark diseases within us.  A friend of mine has one hundred and fifty stitches in his abdomen to remind him of the skill of the surgeon who removed the cancer there.  He receives a shot every month to prevent any recurrence.  Miraculous!  but there are other things that can only be healed by the warm, powerful energies of his soul. ” INTIMATION OF MORTALITY,”  examinations of life, powerful feelings of loss––all these were made well by the light generated in his soul.   But––and this is the new question––can the light and energy of the soul help in the cure, not just in the healing?  Many medical people think it can.  A loving hand and a balance of the soul can affect the cells of the body.  In many places meditation has become an acceptable and a recommended part of the cure.  


CURE: Verb.   To relieve person of the symptoms of a disease…to solve a problem.   Noun:  A solution to a problem,  a treatment that cures a disease.

HEAL: Verb.  to become sound or healthy again.  alleviate…time can heal the pain of grief.  Noun.  The process of making or becoming sound or                                   healthy again.     Such a subtle difference.


praying     When we were children, we prayed as children:  “Now I lay me down to sleep.  I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.  They were words.  If we understood them as a child, we may have been so frightened about the chance of dieing in our sleep,  that we wouldn’t ever want to go to sleep.  As our favorite comedian explains about her parents.  “They’re always up.  No matter when, what time I call, one of them is up.  Having trouble sleeping, Mom?” I ask her, “Have you tried medication?”

“Well, now that’s the thing, Kathleen,  you always read of someone dying in their sleep, you never read that they died in their nap.  Your dad and I nap a lot. ”  They finally understood the words. Now, at the ripe old age of almost 80, I pray the same words as when I was a child, “If I should die before I wake…” with my fingers crossed hoping that maybe I’ll be so lucky.

Our family did not practice any one particular religion.  We raised our children simply:  DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.  It seems to me that pretty well covers it.  When our sons married, they each married into religious families; one a very fundamental believers in the Bible and its teachings, the other very devout Catholics.  Each son grew comfortable, even enthusiastic in the religions of their wives.  I smiled at my husband, “What a gift we gave them.”  He looked at me quizzically.  “Just think, no conflict.  They don’t have to ‘give up’ their beliefs.”  Each has learned to pray in the way of their adopted church.  How do we handle our diversity:  One Agnostic (me), one Realist, (Ron) the Catholic family and the Fundamentalist family. We  made a few changes.   When gathered for a meal, the Catholic family say their grace, and we all end with five “Amens” the last one most enthusiastic.  Why five?  For the five great religions.  This way we have all possibilities covered.

I do not make light of Prayer. Our sons, like many people swear by it.  When and how do they pray?  I’m sure I do not understand the intricacies of  the different religions.  I remember I used to envy my Catholic friends with their Rosary.  Seemed it was like a bank book…so many “Hail Mary’s” got you out of hell for lying, cheating, and…well we won’t go into that.  Do you have to belong to church to pray?  Are there certain words, rituals or can we all create our own simple words of thanksgiving, seek intervention, forgiveness, love?  Be Still and Know That I am God.   Are meditation and prayer the same?  An attitude of gratitude has been my mantra.  Is that prayer?  Another prayer familiar to most of us:  The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want…wait! Here we go again.   Does that mean I don’t want him to be my shepherd?  Or does that mean because he’s my shepherd I will not ever be without the things I want?  When you learn these words, they are meaningless.  When do we start listening to them?  Analyzing them, agreeing or disagreeing with them?  Belief seems to be the key ingredient.  If you believe strongly enough, so the saying goes, “All things are possible.”  I envy people with that overwhelming faith, a faith that never wavers.  It is not that they are problem free, but they have the courage to deal with adversity, accept what comes their way growing stronger with each challenge relying on the wisdom of the great provider.


There are days when I can’t find my card.












Pat Engebrecht

Becoming a “Mother” born of pain
A life becomes… promises of immortality?
Some dedicate their life
To the breath of a love beyond the self.
Their role to love, nurture and protect.

I reflect.

Is the child a being of its own,
Or is it of its mother’s molding?
Is the man or woman they become
Being chiseled from life by their own hand?

The Mother forever changed by the pain of birth
Where does she find her worth?
Does the measure of  failure or success
Forever rest
In the child’s becoming?

Is a Mother born, the death of a
Woman of her own or has she become

A Goddess in Creation?




Over the years most of us have gone to reunions, high school/college.  Those early ones to impress classmates with successful jobs, handsome spouses, beautiful, intelligent children…all trying to out do our classmates like final scores on SAT’s (which we didn’t have to take way back then because most of us didn’t go to college which was for the rich (no student loans) or “very” smart.)  As the years passed, we finally outgrew the one upsmanship (most of us any way) and began to celebrate survival.  I enjoy the light–hearted  tone of  the following rhyme:

 Class Reunion

bday_balloons_bus_card.338122604It was my class reunion, and all through the house
I checked in each mirror and begged my poor spouse
To say I looked great, that my chin wasn’t double,
And he lied through false teeth, just to stay out of trouble.
Said that neath my thick glasses, my eyes hadn’t changed,
And I had the same figure just a mite rearranged.
Said my skin was still silky, though looser in drape,
Not like smooth satin, but more like silk crepe.
I swallowed his words hook, sinker, and line,
And entered the banquet feeling just fine.bday_balloons_bus_card.338122604
Somehow I’d expected my classmates to stay
As young as they were on that long–ago day.
We’d hugged farewell hugs, but like me, through the years,
They’d  added gray to their hair, and pounds to their rears.
But as we shared a few memories and retold our class jokes
We were eighteen in spirit though we looked like our folks.
We turned up our hearing aids, dimmed down the lights.
Rolled back the years and were young for the night
Donna Presnell/ Elizabeth Lucas

 The notice came in the mail the other day…60 Year Reunion!  Come celebrate It can’t be.  I go to the basement (it needs cleaning, of course, but I remind my husband that it was in the fine print on the marriage certificate: “I don’t do basements.  I know it’s here somewhere.  I move the old ice cream maker.  Haven’t used that since the kids left home–the oldest just celebrated his 58th birthday, but we might sometime (use it that is)  Then I move  the five jugs of water (you never know when that predicted catastrophe is going to happen) that sit in front of the boxes that hold  “who knows what. ” It might be there, my 1954 high school year book.

After opening a number of boxes of outdated treasures, gotta throw these away someday, I note mentally, I find it.   My old “Maroon”.   I pull up the old rocking chair– Granny’s.  The canes are broken across the back but I can have it re-caned and who knows, maybe one of the grand kids would like it. I settle back,  brush off the cover.  The years roll back with the dust.  Mustang logo

FLASHBACK”  A kaleidoscope of images: white bucks and saddle shoes, boys wearing jeans so low that “pantsing” had to be outlawed by the authorities (kids would sneak up behind an unsuspecting buddy, grab his pants on both sides and jerk…exposed! Ankle- length peg skirts so tight our walk became a hobble and we had to hike them up to bend our knees to go up the stairs…no running down the hall…cashmere sweaters if you were rich enough to own one with scarves tied neatly about our neck. Dress Code? No slacks for girls, skirts and dresses only.

There was the usual “class distinctions.  The jocks, the students, you know, the ones that belonged to the Math or Chess club, ran for student body offices, worked on the year book. There were the hot rodders who drove around in their  supped–up cars at noon, wore their hair in exaggerated duck tails slicked back with grease, had their pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve of their tee shirts, and yes, even a few tattoos.  These boys our mothers warned us about…I remember Midge married one…divorced (physical abuse?), a single parent raising two girls.

There were the clandestine beer parties in the park…I pause focusing inward on Hazel’s 16th birthday party, Roger grabbing my hand dragging me out the back door as the police, who the neighbors called when someone fell through the plate glass window, came in the front. Never told my children about that episode of my “well-behaved” teen–age years.

Our senior year. I rock in the chair, close my eyes remembering our “coming-of-age” dramas  where we learned of sex (yes, Gerry was pregnant at graduation– they just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. ) We fell in and out of love, wore men’s over sized white shirts, and our boyfriend’s letterman sweaters and then we, Milwaukie High School, like the Hoosiers, won the state basketball championship and became the Class that made Milwaukie  famous.  Images of the welcoming-home parade come into focus and I can feel again the thrill of it all when we (cheer leaders) rode on the flat bed truck with the team waving our maroon/gold pom poms.POMSMBG

 The faces and times swim before me in a haze.  I was going steady with Bill, the class super hero, tall, handsome    all-around jock: basketball, track. The camera winds forward.  He marries Bunny, two children, divorces, dies in  1995. Clairene, his twin sister, the first Longshore woman in Portland, Oregon, the only person I  know who  doesn’t have a “social” face, stays in touch after all these years.

  LIFE:  I thumb through the pictures:  Roger marries Kay/ divorces,  daughter murdered by fiance, son killed on a motorcycle.  Stan marries/divorces/remarries Marge who died of breast cancer several years ago.  Don, who became a big wig in banking, flew Roger in a helicopter to his private club to play golf…later barely survived the Savings and Loan debacle.  Sherrill Houser, class president, becomes our most famous member.  World renowned sculpture (Big! sculpture, not him) over 4  stories high! Bronze, Conquistador on a stallion,  El Paso, Texas.don-juan-de-onate-statue-el-paso-airport  I guess it was natural for him to think big, his father was second in command in the creation of Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota.

I turn the pages.  Stories of far away places, success, failure, grief, joy reflect the years of our lives.  Reunions?  They are like time warps and for a few moments we return to the years of our becoming.  We squint at faces trying to connect them to the name tag. We girls will have our hair “professionally” done for the occasion, buy a new dress to wrap around a body that no longer resembles our youthful mystique.

I hear Ron upstairs moving about the kitchen.  Time for dinner. I replace the yearbook,  push the rocking chair back into its corner.  The reunion is in Oregon, I am in New York.  The time and distance echoes.  I sigh.  Too far, too long ago–I won’t be going to the reunion.

Memories LauraJo


Your poems fade on paper brown
Your voice now a quieter sound.
The edges of your life are ragged
Echoing into mountain tops.  Jagged
Peaks fading into the mist.
Memories clouded with time.  I resist.
My cries whimper into the night…
Don’t forget!  Don’t forget!
Pat Engebrecht

purple with earth_stars











October 2013

We rescued you ten years ago when you were five.
Rejected twice, your doubt lay open as you ran away
Not listening to our call.

Hair unkempt, no house manners, humping all legs.
Chasing birds into the bay, we caught you by boat
Swimming in water over your head.

Champagne hair matted beyond the comb, so you
Were shorn down to the skin which embarrassed
You, of course.

With time your running paused, you stopped to see
If we were there.  You would not sit upon our lap,
Haughtily, you sat on the floor and stared.

A small lion, Lhasa Apso,  the vet said, ancestor of
Regal lineage.  More cat than dog, eyes round and black,
Lower jaw thrust forward, teeth ragged in attack.

Day by day we learned to live, you with us and us with you.
You learned to come when we called.  We received your
Scolding loud and clear when left alone too long.

You rode in my bicycle basket surveying lowly dogs
Who ran beside yapping––you ignored, ears flapping.
You slept on our bed, of course.

You never begged, just made yourself “available” at
The table which was rewarded, of course.  Steak was
Your food of choice, and “Beggen Strips” if you were good.

The years slipped by, you by our side––by car or  plane.
Your ears were scratched, you pawed for more, we
Spoiled you with our love and affection.

The years dulled your play, you slept on the floor no
Longer able to jump on the bed.  We watched you fade,
A sadness played, aching in our hearts.

We scratched, more gently now, your whimper echoed as
You moved.  Now fifteen, with ripe old age our laps became
Your bed of choice, a softness whispered in our voice.

A love affair to be remembered always in our hearts.  You’ve
Gone to rest.  I put away chewed toys, give away cans of
Food left on the shelf and whimper to myself.

You will always be our love, Ziggy.







St. Valentine’s Day Legend




In the Golden Legend

The Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine, compiled about 1260 and one of the most-read books of the High Middle Ages, gives sufficient details of the saints for each day of the liturgical year to inspire a homily on each occasion. The very brief vita of St Valentine has him refusing to deny Christ before the “Emperor Claudius”[25] in the year 280. Before his head was cut off, this Valentine restored sight and hearing to the daughter of his jailer. Jacobus makes a play with the etymology of “Valentine”, “as containing valour”.

There are many other legends behind Saint Valentine. One is that in the 1st century AD it is said that Valentine, who was a priest, defied the order of the emperor Claudius and secretly married couples so that the husbands wouldn’t have to go to war. Soldiers were sparse at this time so this was a big inconvenience to the emperor. Another legend is that Valentine refused to sacrifice to pagan gods. Being imprisoned for this, Valentine gave his testimony in prison and through his prayers healed the jailer’s daughter who was suffering from blindness. On the day of his execution he left her a note that was signed “Your Valentine.”’s_Day 



It seems that there were several St. Valentines in history, more than one of them being tortured and executed for their “Christian” leanings.  Although we complain of today’s violence, it appears that murder and mayhem is part of the human species as depicted in today’s political chaos.  Somehow the “history” of those early martyrs   has been lost and we envision St. Valentine  as a  “loving” February Santa Clause.

Early Memories:  In school, eons ago, we had a Valentine Box and exchanged with each other, always counting how many we received.  Social mores began to dictate:  Everyone didn’t get the same number of valentines, some receiving none.  Those left out felt bad.   It was not fair, besides it was a “religious” tainted custom, had very little to do with “love”  and thus has been discontinued.




Our grandchildren still make the crayon/lace cutouts to send to friends and family and look forward to receiving their own Valentines, a warm statement of affection.

Today Valentine’s Day has become a “economic” boon for florists, jewelers, chocolate and other “luxury” items.  It has become an act of measuring the depth of “love” we have for one other often times tied to the $ amount of the gift.


My husband did not get the “Valentine” gene!  He huffs and puffs and rebels against the hype.  Oh, on occasion he has brought the dozen roses, but somehow the  “warm Rosesfuzzy”  doesn’t flow through me knowing how he feels about the holiday.  I won’t deny that it has taken me years to immune myself, to admit to my friends that I got “nothing,” and to hear their “clucking” of sympathy, or the fact that he doesn’t call me when gone for weeks on a ski trip.  He doesn’t love you, my Ego whispers (I’ve learned my Ego is not my friend.)  It’s not that he doesn’t surprise me.  For instance, the package delivered when he was away skiing that time.  The Beaver jacket, so warm and soft, the hood framing my surprise in the mirror.  His gifts are usually far more practical:  the tiller for my garden, the vacuum for downstairs, so you won’t have to lug the vacuum up and down.  

Why do I smile when there are no roses adorning my table?  After almost sixty years, I have learned to read between the lines and appreciate his little acts of love.  The gentle scratching of my back just before we fall asleep, the clearing and cleaning of the kitchen after our guests have gone, the washing and vacuuming of my car, unsolicited.  Words of love are just that, and appreciated, of course, but it is  the “act” that carries the “love” message through almost 60 years.




My Favorite Movie Gone With the Wind



Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia DeHavilland, Leslie Howard


                                                                                             Rhett Butler

Scarlett O”Hara…Just the name brings images to mind. I see her silhouetted against the stormy sky holding a garden root in her hand swearing, “As God is My witness, I will never be hungry again!”Gone

But then I get ahead of myself.  Why do I watch a movie made in the 30’s every chance I get?  What is it about the characters that draws my fascination?

“But Ashly, you can’t marry Melany.  You love me…I know you love me!”

“Ah, my sweet Scarlett.  Of course I love you.  I love your energy, your life…your…”  Ah, that mealy mouthed “southern gentleman” is not worth Scarlett’s adoration.  What does she possibly see in him?”Leslie Howard

And then I see Rhett sticking his head up over the couch mimicking… “Oh Ashley…you do love me…”  and the vase flying through the air, Rhett ducking just in time.

“And you, Mr. Butler, are certainly no gentleman, not showing yourself, letting a lady…”

“I may be no gentleman, but you,  Scarlett O”Hara, are certainly no lady!”



Just what was a “lady” in Scarlett’s world.  Melany?  Soft spoken, forgiving, encouraging, not a jealous imagesbone in her body.  Now that character is not real, not then and not today!  I think Margaret Mitchell went a bit overboard in creating a contrasting character to play off Scarlett.




Can you imagine Melany holding the horse in the river while the Yankees crossed the bridge over her head?



Would Ashley do everything…killing, stealing, lying to save his plantation?

When Rhett saves her from the Yankees, through fire and attack and then leaves her at the bridge with horse,  a sick Melany and baby…Yankees overhead, you will see her strength and never wonder about just how far Scarlett will go to save Tara.  Her father has told her it is the “land”.  Tara, Tara, Tara  echoes.

green dress

I love Scarlett’s  grit, her fancy green velvet dress made from the draperies from her once palatial home ravished by the war.  Her goal: to impress Rhett, (who’s in jail)  to give her the tax money to save Tara. When that failed, believe the glint in her eyes when she’s sees the lumber mill Sue Ellen’s beau has developed.  How could she???  Nice?  Never! Calculating, crafty, gorgeous.


Scarlett spends no time worrying about her soul.  When her world threatens to collapse around her,  how does she handle it?    “Oh Fiddly dee I’ll think about that tomorrow!”    Will she get Rhett back?  As his figure fades into the fog, through

her tear stained face she sighs, Scarlett  Tears     “Well, tomorrow is another day.”   Is there any doubt? Perhaps.




Black and white. Life is much more complicated.  It was suggested to me by a loved one that Melany was the stronger character.  My first impulse was to deny her conclusion–too good, too perfect.  Scarlett?  Too selfish, calculating, manipulative, so who was the most realistic character?  Rhett.  A handsome,  reprobate realistic to life’s sins and satisfactions.  Without ethics?  Perhaps, but a rogue with a heart.



Margaret Mitchell 2Was Margaret Mitchell Scarlett?  A beautiful rebel born in 1900.   She was a “writer” her entire life, worked as a journalist when  women of class just didn’t work.  Her stories were published under “Peggy” Mitchell.  When she injured her ankle and became more sedentary she began to write her  novel.  She always had trouble with “beginnings” so started her stories with the ending and worked backward.

Margaret Mitchell wrote for nine years on her book.  The manuscript was scattered throughout the house, hand written pages, some typed, some scribbled on scrap paper.  When a representative from MacMillan came in search of stories from local people, a friend casually mentioned that “Peggy” was a writer.  That comment resulted in the agent leaving town with a suitcase of Margaret’s manuscript totaling over 1000 pages.  Several days later she called and said she had changed her mind about publishing her book.  The agent refused to send it back.

Gone With the Wind, one of the first movies to be made in technicolor, was born.  The book, then the movie took over Margaret’s life.  The instant success (she’d hoped to sell 5,000 copies that first year and sold over 50,000 in one day) changed her life.   Success was a demanding task master.  Exasperated, Margaret Mitchell vowed never to write another word.   Her life was no longer her own.  She made well over $1,000,000 from the book/movie. David O. Selznick paid her $50,000 for the movie rights, highest amount he’d ever paid to an unknown author.  After the phenomenal success of the movie, Mr. Selznick felt he had underpaid her and sent her a check for another $50,000.

Margaret MitchellMs. Mitchell refused to have anything to do with the making of the movie.  Once in exasperation of the continual questioning, she retorted that she thought Groucho Marks would make a great Rhett Butler.   Margaret was philanthropic with her wealth aiding black scholars with their studies and contributing to the construction of the first black hospital in Atlanta.  Because of the political atmosphere, her donations remained anonymous.

After almost seventy-five years, Gone With the Wind remains  a technical masterpiece in music, technicolor, editing,  and, with the help of current technology, it rivals today’s newest creations. The vagaries of life.  On August 11, 1949, while crossing the street with her husband on the way to a movie,  Margaret Mitchell was hit by a car driven by a drunk taxi cab driver.  She never regained consciousness.  Five days later she died at the age of 49.

Was Margarete’s  world the real world?  Ladies and Gentlemen were not the builders of empires.  It was the Rhetts and Scarletts who picked up the pieces and rebuilt their lives.  It is the  survivors who change the world.  According to the author of perhaps the most famous, successful novel ever written, her characters had “gumption.”  Gone With the Wind is said to be the second most published book next to the Bible.

Margaret Mitchell 3     Gumption:  Initiative, get-up-and-go, moxie,  shrewdness, imagination, courage, horse sense, determination, spirit, pluck.




















Do You Believe? Life after Death

image001Do You Believe?

Death.  The final exit?  A gateway to a different existence?   Heaven/hell?  Choices.  How do we come to our beliefs?


A tragic accident.  A couple in their prime of life caught in a traffic jam, waiting.  A large truck slams into their car driving them into a truck ahead which rebounds backwards. Their car crushed from front and rear.  Instant death.  A young son recently married, future grandchildren unborn.  Fate?  We mourn.

Our relationship was not perfect.  Disagreements, times of avoidance yet there was this energy between us.  She was young enough to be my daughter, was a dynamo of energy raising funds for needy children, veterans, planning parties, cooking dinners, learning Bridge.  A world traveler from the jungles of Guatemala, France on a bike, cross country skiing in the Alps.  Made friends around the world.

He was a man of the world, An advertising giant.  A sportsman in golf, tennis…you name it.  Handsome, of course, joined her in matrimony and helped her raise a young boy from a previous union.  He retired early, became a child’s advocate and joined her on the Board of the Children’s’ Academy.  Dead?  Can’t be.

Here, and then gone.  Their friends gather.  We all look around expecting to see them in their varied activities.

“I need a sign!”  Her close friend cries, “To know you are OK.  Feathers!” We both collected feathers she explained. “It’s gotta be big for me to believe!”  The days went by.  A trip on their boat away from the happening.

“You won’t believe.”  Her awe still a whisper in disbelief.   “We docked, climbed down from the deck walking through a park area.  I stopped, caught my breath, disbelieving.  There in a large circle were feathers…lots and lots of feathers all stuck into the ground.  My husband couldn’t believe it either.”

Pink SpoonbillAnother friend.  “I’ve been looking for a pink feather from our native Spoonbills.  After two years, no luck.  Today, I found two beautiful pink feathers.”

My particular sharing with this friend was heart-shaped stones.  I would find them along the river bed or digging in the garden and would put them aside awaiting my return to our southern community to give them to her.


It was the day of her community memorial service.  A busy day, no time to take my usual stroll along the boardwalk into the community salt flats.  I hurried along the boulevard and the next thing I knew I had turned onto the boardwalk.  It was early morning, the sun filtering through the pines.  My heart slowed taking in the leaves glistening with due, the mangrove roots poking their way through the mud and then I stopped, breath paused in disbelief.  There, caught in a spider web were several long needles from the pines above…their design? A perfect heart lit by a slanting sun ray, the web heart swaying gently in the breeze.  I believe.














Life Interrupted

Were they laughing and talking?
Planning or arguing
When death snatched them from this world?

Denial echoes within me.
No! No! It cannot be.  A mistake.  We
Can not accept this deed of fate.                                                                                                                                                                This young couple gone?  Wrong!  Wrong?

Too young.  Too young, so much to do.
Children from the Academy, her shadow fading.
His brother breathing deep.  Disbelief…Life?

Don’t go!  Don’t go! I cry.
We have fences to mend, words to deny,
Hugs to be given, but…why?  Why?

Pickled beets on my shelf
Cards  unshuffled on the table.
I’ve heard Death is our shadow
The moment we’re born.

Fate is a hunter, we pause, we mourn
But give thanks for our very brief
Moment in time
When our love entwined.



Thanksgiving “Family Affair”

]                                                              SUNRISE


It is a beautiful world we live in.  When I get “dumpy” I take a deep breath and look around.  My favorite is the green of spring, the warmth of the summer, the color of leaves in the fall, winter snow, the noise of the world hushed, holding its breath anticipating the first tracks of life across the unbroken perfect covering of white hiding all the imperfections we create.

I think of family and know that I am blessed even tho we have snarly relationships at times.  Communication seems to be the flaw in creation or perhaps it offers  the challenge of looking within ourselves, and learning to build the bridges to understanding.

Forgiveness” is a gift we give ourselves, yet forgiving ourselves seems to be the most difficult.  Accepting our own imperfections and knowing that we are all doing the best we can removes much of the pain from our lives yet ,”EXPECTATIONS”  our own and those around us, become our tools of torture.

Perhaps,“These are the times that try men’s souls,” uttered by Thomas Paine politically, in a more subtle way,  describes every generation of parent and child. You  will face many of the same challenges as those who came before you.  We all experience the desire for love, acceptance, success in our endeavors.  Along with our blessings  you will experience  some failures, loneliness, and rejection.  Although, seemingly, your wold is different, man’s basic desires remain the same.

Parents struggle to protect their children from the pain of life’s gauntlet but it is that very pain that strengthens them.  Even physical pain should be recognized as a blessing for it is our warning signal that something is wrong and should be addressed, not dulled with drugs that allows us to ignore it. Emotional pain sends its signals through depression and tears. Escaping into the artificial world of drugs which leads to the horrors of addiction becomes hell on earth.

Know and believe that you are loved. That the good Lord’s blessing flow abundantly awaiting your partaking in the feast of life.

Love Always,      Grandma


Being a grandparent certainly offers its challenges.  Each of us approach this role in a different manner.  In the beginning we are often needed to baby sit and we think we will use the opportunity to change our mode of “parenting” promising ourselves that we have a second chance to correct some “errors” we made the first time around.  That ain’t easy!  We see disapproval in our children’s eyes when we apply the same disciplinary rules we used with them.  I’ve been told, “We don’t hurt feelings in this house…” which leaves me at a bit of a loss as to what exactly is my role here.

I envy the warm, fuzzy folks who can just “be there,”  hold the child in love and let go of any ideas of  “training.”  But we don’t change, we are who we are.  As the children grow and you dutifully attend their stage performances (if you are lucky enough to live close) or you don’t.  If you can accept the disapproving frowns of your children for words spoken and still enter wholeheartedly into the “grandparent” role, you are successful.

And  they grow– you find the grandchildren engaged in their activities,  your children busy with life’s demands and you fade onto the sidelines becoming shadowy figures on the stage of life.  To be expected, but it leaves a vague, uneasy feeling.  Calls become less frequent, visits, “obligatory” holiday sharing.  I remember my mother-in-law’s rather sharp words about this happening.  We shrugged it off then, but now,  with time, we begin to understand.  To understand does not necessarily change your feelings.  Expectations need to change.  I must learn to enjoy “observing,”  move off  center stage, offer advice only when it is asked,  and bow to the new role of gossamer support.  I can do that!!!

Chronicles of LauraJo

Pat's front cover II


“TRAGIC” hardly begins to describe the heartbreak of LauraJo’s struggle with borderline personality disorder, which her mother documents with the help of LauraJo’s journal entries, poetry and sketches…This book reveals an extraordinarily talented individual who waged an epic strugle and, in her own way, won–for a time.

Although LauraJo (LJ) has been dead for some twenty-five plus years, I bselieve Chronicles is the book she intended to write…to thank all those who reached out to her in her struggles and to let fellow sufferers know that there is so much love and joy in between the dark storms of pain, doubt and fear that the rainbows and sunlight are well worth fighting for.  (author, Pat Engebrecht)


Web page:  Pat’s Publishing,   Pat’s Publishing

LJ baby Sedona




LJ, Sedona, Arizona  (18 months)

children 3







Growing up with brothers, Kurt and Jeff








Camping was a way of life.








Rochester, New York.  LJ with the infamous Bobby Riggs who played in the TV extravaganza against Billy Jean King in the Battle of the Sexes…Billy Jean won.  Tennis was her world.




LJ off to college to the University of Arizona where she played #1 Singles on a full scholarship.











Past and Present

CDDiscFaceTemplate02 Track 02

The past is with us always.  We are today what we have experienced in our lives:  love, hate, joy, grief.  This original song sung by LauraJo during her ten-year battle with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) echoes her message of thanks for all those who loved and reached out to her.  Her love is evident, her message, We are not alone. 

The CD can be purchased through  Go to for reviews of the book, When Love Is Not Enough Chronicles of LauraJo , her personal story of her struggles with this tragic disease.


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