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Under the Wild Ginger: A Simple Guide to the Wisdom of Wonder ~Jeffery D. Willius

Monday, February 25th, 2013

I had to go to the thesaurus to look up the word delightful because that was my first response to this pleasant and charming book by Jeffery Willius.

Synonyms: Adorable, agreeable, alluring, ambrosial, amusing, attractive, beautiful, captivating, cheery, clever, congenial, darling, delectable, delicious, enchanting, engaging, enjoyable, entertaining, fair, fascinating, gratifying, heavenly, ineffable, lovely, luscious, lush, pleasing, pleasurable, rapturous, ravishing, refreshing, satisfying, scrumptious, thrilling, yummy

Under The Wild Ginger proved to be all of those words and I would add sensual and grounding to the mix.  It is also the perfect size for a gift and it just carries so much more radiance and sweetness than any other treat I could imagine – yes even better than chocolate!  It is a book, which one can hold in their hands and read again and again.  One can pause and laugh out loud or release a tear or even be inspired to go outside and wander through the garden examining the bounty found there.  This little book with not increase one’s girth, it will not cause one to overindulge and can be returned to at any time for more delight and opportunity.

Be forewarned!  Under the Wild Ginger has the possibility of turning on the spigot of the mind and your thoughts may wander and wonder about nearly everything in sight.  Why it caused me to remember the time I discovered the ladybug eggs under the leaf as I was pruning the roses.  There it was, a little diamond shape of red rounds and I just knew what they were and how helpful those critters were going to be for my blooms.   I returned to the computer and looked up everything I could find about ladybugs before I pruned one more stem or leaf.

Under the Wild Ginger can cause one to question the rules of life and possibility.  I am curious about  those who say that I must just do something in one way only.  I feel the childlike imaginings growing under this book’s tutelage and the hints of wonder sparking new results almost immediately.

I have so enjoyed reading Jeffery Willius on his blog site One Man’s Wonder and following him on Facebook and I was equally delighted when he asked me to write a review of his book.  I just recognized it as being a wonder full experience.

Each page holds 2 wonders to contemplate and let the mind explore – some are similar to Japanese haiku in their simplicity of expression. If you go to Willius’ blog site, linked above, you can offer up the wonder you are exploring and might be published for your observations and word sharing.

I even loved reading the book jacket of Under the Wild Ginger.  I purchased a Kindle copy to put on my cell phone as one of those special reads for when I am waiting and on hold to keep my mind awake and open.

From the book jacket: Jeffrey Willius has written professionally for over thirty years.  His work has been published in Popular Science magazine, many daily newspapers, trade magazines, and a number of popular nature and spirituality blogs. His blog, ONE MAN’S WONDER , explores simple everyday awareness and higher spiritual consciousness.  This is his first book.

Mr. Willius graciously sent me a copy of his book for review and I am going to pass on this hardbound copy as a gift to a dear friend for Easter.  Thank you so much for asking me to review this book and for sharing it with me.

5-LadybugsThis is a ladybug read and gift I recommend to you and yours.

If your purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you. Donations also welcome.

You can also order Willius’s directly from his site.

Related Reading:

14,000 Things To Be Happy About
Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit 
When Women Were Birds  
The Paper Garden 


Monday, January 28th, 2013

red_robinEvery year I pick a NEW  word to focus on as a guide to how I approach my endeavors and to hopefully become a better person.   This year the new word is not coming; nothing is resonating.  I thought my word was going to be Happiness, because I have a number of books to review with happiness in the title, and yet I have found this not to be the one – I think it was the real word for last year.

I also pick a Native American Animal Guide for the year and I do that on Epiphany which was January 6th  this year.   I did a  workshop on that day and I think assisted several folks in discovering their word and Spirit Guide.   It was very fun.   My guide turned out to be DOG  in the contrary, which means I am loyal and trustworthy and an incredible supporter of other people ( like being a counselor, clergy, listener, guide, or caregiver.)  In the contrary position though, it means I need to work on being my own best friend.     I took an action right away that opened the door to feeling better about myself and my work/ history and enabled me to let go of some hard feelings – instantly.

I discovered that I do indeed need something NEW in my life and I focused on looking from the ground up.  How did I start each day? What are my habits? What is my thinking, and how do I respond?  Right away I discovered how much I like the feeling of waking up on my own – coming to the day without alarms or buzzers or bells and whistles.  I like feeling the cozy sheets, feeling safe and extending my toes and shifting my feet before I even open my eyes.  I like feeling ready to be aware, and the word JOY kept popping into my head.  I changed a habit right then and there; I now do not run over all the tasks which must be completed on this new day, instead I think of 5 things that I am grateful for – even if ZIP is wanting his breakfast and to go out.

This new exercise was feeling very good to me and I thought if I just started changing my habits who knows what will pop into my circle.   So the next thing I did was not write for a whole week.  I still went on my meditation dog walk first thing after dressing, but I did not sit down to write right away after that.  I did not open my journal at all during this week.  I did not bring up a blank sheet on the computer.  Now, I am going to try different 3 hour slots of time during the day and night to write; a week at a time.  Change a habit, this was a dramatic move but it broke down a boundary in my thinking and my actions. How else could I use this new discovery?

Then my friend Kathie posted this little riddle poem on Facebook.

Food for Thought…
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest asset or heaviest burden.
I will push you up to success or down to disappointment.
I am at your command.
Half the things you do might just as well be turned over to me.
For I can do them quickly, correctly and profitably.
I am easily managed; just be firm with me.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with the precision of a
machine and the intelligence of a person.
You can run me for profit, or you can run me for ruin.
Show me how you want it done. Educate me. Train me.
Lead me. Reward me.
And I will then…do it automatically.
I am your servant.
Who am I?
I am a habit.

And I was empowered even more.  Rather than try a resolution, or picking a goal, or a word, I am going to change my habits, one by one and see where this leads me.  Hopefully to be a better person and one with some NEW thinking that assists the more authentic self to emerge.

I made a list of all the habits I could muster and I put them in my journal; some are very small such as moving the stool by my closet to over by the window.  I did not find this very convenient, but it did open me up to being thankful that I have natural light in my closet and to know that a quick glance at the weather was enough to make a decision about my walk.

Maybe my new word is HABIT or maybe it is CHANGE?  What is your focus for the New Year? Did you make resolutions, did you pick a word, or did you start a new class or activity?   What works for you?

I have been asked to do a book review on the 31st of this month – so I will be changing my posting schedule a bit too. Very neat book about happiness!

If you purchase anything from this site from Amazon or Powell’s   I will receive a few beans in my bucket. Thank you.  Donations also welcome.

Related Reading:
Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit
Our Bodies Our Selves ( The Change)

Celebrating the Moment of Wisdom

Monday, January 21st, 2013

wisdomThis week I wrote the letter resigning my Ordination in the Ministry of the United Church of Christ. It was a closure for me of the past five and a half years of releasing the old definitions.  I am not walking around giddy or happy dancing; I am standing a bit taller and witnessing the baby steps of discovery.  My goal and intention since my 55th birthday has been to become the healthiest person I can become and to be prepared for turning 65 and the Peak of Creativity.  I am on task.

Releasing the bonds of the old definitions has been a life long journey.  I have not done it alone and have asked for help along the way, and yet have wallowed in my own shadows deeply and sometimes distressed others.   I have read and read and searched and questioned; at times I have driven myself to push for relief and answers.

Depression is anger against the self, it can bleed out in subtle ways.  Ruminating on anger without release is like grinding one’s teeth down to despair – chewing the cud called self.  I developed systems to spew it out, analyze and understand, and I repeated until I could truly forgive. Release.  Now I have even more emotional skills/tools to draw upon.

I knew the day that Nixon signed and abolished the draft and all the U Haul trailers began arriving on the campus of my Seminary so many of the interesting students would depart, that maybe I should be packing my things also, but I thought it was only a short sprint to the end and I was told to finish my work; I did.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.”  Rather it is words that I celebrate.  Oh yes if the words sting, rip and tear at the soul, I cry and bleed like all others, then I let them reveal to me the fear and pain of the speaker.  I have obviously assaulted a boundary that they like the edge of and have marked it darker for definition.  Then I question, what does their fear or pain reflect back to me?  What can I learn about people from hearing these words?  How can I pull forth these ideas and change them to my use and knowledge?  I return to the self and diffuse the reflection.

It all takes time.

I never earned any money, retirement, insurance from my work as an ordained minister.  I did fund raise  tremendous amounts of money for projects in my community and for education.  I did work a number of jobs to give me enough quarters for some Social Security and Medicare (Maybe? – remember I was born with cancer and have always been a pre-existing condition)

What did I gain by being Ordained?  I was acknowledged for being smart enough to attend and graduate from a prestigious institution.  I survived! which was an amazing feat in itself.   I learned to trust myself.  I learned how to think, study and contemplate activating those skills into useful information and action.  In the awesome category, I am a skilled counselor and one of the best Adult Educators on the planet. I taught and understood Ethics and I became my own best friend.

I am sure that I will still get all the newsletters and announcements that I can possibly handle and I will still work on Justice, Peace and Women’s issues!  I will always have a community where I belong and which supports the issues that are vital to me.

I am enjoying reading as much as I want and what I choose to read. I am truly happy to be able to say NO to requests.  I no longer want to go to required meetings and pay for the privilege and the gas.   I am figuring out what I want to do in this third of my life to celebrate the peaks of creativity.  I have planted seeds and gotten some insights.   I am no longer that 10 year old girl striving to do something that everyone said could not be done or accomplished.  Been there done that, on to something new.

How about you?  What are your plans for change?  Made any big or dramatic changes this year?

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site I will receive a few beans in my bucket. Thank you.  Donations welcome.

Related Reading:
Making Change an Often Overlooked Step
Wild Heart Painting Workshop- Gifts of Change
30 Days with My Father  – PTSD
Breakfast With Buddha

Lunch With Buddha ~Roland Merullo

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Lunch With Buddha is a second road trip with Otto Ringling and Voyla Rinpoche which begins in Washington State and takes us to North Dakota.   The first road trip for these two can be found in the Merullo novel of 2007 called Breakfast With Buddha.   I discovered this book in May of 2009 and so enjoyed it that I put it on my summer reading list and reviewed the book on my own.

I was just roaming around Amazon and this opening paragraph on the Amazon review of Breakfast with Buddha just snagged my full attention:

“The only thing certain about a journey is that it has a beginning and an end – for you never know what may happen along the way. And so it is with this journey into the minds and souls of two very different men – one of them in search of truth, the other a man who may already have found it.”

Lunch With Buddha  is a new road trip, because Ringling has made a promise to his wife that he will scatter her ashes in a mountain spot where they went camping when they were newly married.  It is seven months after the death of his wife from cancer and it is time to take care of his promise.  The Buddhist monk in the first story is now his brother-in-law and the father of his 5 year old niece.   The retreat center on the family farm in North Dakota is up and running and after the family returns the ashes to the earth, the two men are to drive a gift truck back to the retreat center.

Merullo actually took this trip with his children in order to write this second book which must be going to become a trilogy. (I expect in a few years that we will see the Dinner with Buddha on the book shelves – The stage has been set)  My copy of the novel came complete with photographs of the various locations that they shared and the specialty meals that they enjoyed.  I have always wanted to go to CAVE B  and the Grand Coulee Dam  but because I live in Washington State we just go past those spots getting to someplace else.

There is as much detail about the other states that the team travels through also and their swim in Yellowstone is a delightful segment I thoroughly enjoyed.  The duo are very respectful of each other as Ringling moves from grief to mourning and the Monk assists in the letting go and looking towards the future and the teaching of his child to use her gifts.  The current US elections add to the story line and the conversation and the characters that they meet along the way add an extraordinary dimension and quirkiness to the journey.


When TLC book Tours asked me to review this book, I just jumped right up in the air – no lie – and happy danced.  In the wakeful moments of the past three years when I just could not sleep, I have read  Breakfast With Buddha  3 more times.  It just delights me and calms me down into a centered space.  The questions that Otto Ringling is asking are the questions that I am contemplating.  The book can pull me away from worry and anger in just a moment or two of reading.

When the Independent publisher, contacted me early on, I joined the Facebook page for Lunch with Buddha and sent out a huge “bring it on” message.   I had so much trouble waiting that I purchased another book by Merullo in the mean and explored his other words.  I chose A Little Love Story I was not disappointed.   I just enjoy Merullo’s style – play with words and ideas.


I am filled with gratitude for having been given a copy of this book to read and I say a huge thank you. The book also supports an Independent publishing company, PFP Publishing and that feels good too.  TLC and Newtonville Books are offering up a free copy of this book for the best comment – so what would you like to say?  What questions would ask the author?

Sometimes a second story on the same pathway is not so wonderful – this was not the case with LUNCH WITH BUDDHA It was a joy to read and explore. I was fully engaged in the road trip, every mile of the way.

Lunch with Buddha home page
Roland Merullo web page

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Related Reading:
Breakfast With Buddha
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Walter’s Muse