Christmas Card 2021

A Story for a wintry afternoon…. As many of you know, my Christmas Card Story usually gets posted in the weeks following Christmas, sometime between Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Easter Sunday. This year, this seems the perfect week for it. The temperatures are low and the daylight is short… perhaps a story about this little Bakery in the Italian Section of the Bronx a few years before the turn of the century will help remind us to appreciate how much Beauty and Value can be found in the simplicity of what we do. It is sprinkled with Miracles and Italian expletives!

It has been a wild ride these past two years. Perhaps Showing Up for our Lives is the Miracle!
The idea of sending this out after Christmas is in part to remind us all to celebrate Gratitude, Readiness, Openness and Willingness, and all the values of Christmas the whole year through… The other part is that it takes me a while to write it! 🙂
It is sent to you with Gratitude for our manifesting here upon this planet at the same time, for our paths crossing, for the Life that we share, and with Love…

The Course in Miracles says, “There is no such thing as coincidence and chance plays no part in God’s plan.” The poet, HAFIZ, says, “This place where you are now. God circled on a map for you.”

 And so, inspired by the idea of just how Lucky and Blessed we truly are, I offer the following story…
Perhaps you would like to make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, or bubbling herbal tea, or some delightful warm beverage, and take a little time to cozy up and enjoy this Story Adventure…

Un Fornaio Cuoce (A Baker Bakes)

By Arnold J. Mungioli

I. * * * * Mama * * * *

You would have thought her a crusty old lady. Pugnacious and confrontational, Mama was a tough First Generation Italian American Woman from the Bronx with a heart of gold! If you were a child and walked into her bakery, you would often be hit over the head with a breadstick just a little too hard, and then she would smile the warmest smile and hand it to you. It was an act of generosity, as she saw it. She had made the breadstick herself, so it was a heartfelt and handmade gift. Moreover, she never wanted to see any child go hungry. But no kid likes to be hit over the head with a breadstick. Often the children would cry just from the shock of it, not because they were hurt at all. And Mama would dismiss the child disparagingly and unsympathetically as “shpeel la beep’,” “mingherlino” or “affamato.” She didn’t trust skinny people. And she held firm the belief that to spare the rod was to spoil the child.

“Shpeel la beep’” in Mama’s Italian dialect meant literally, “pipe cleaner” and was used derogatorily to insult a skinny person. Growing up as her daughter — a Second Generation Italian American Girl — these dialect expressions would fly by when the families got together – sometimes you would get a translation. More often than not, you’d get slapped for asking because somehow you were supposed to know that it was a dirty word and not appropriate to ask about that one.

Eventually you would learn to just accept that some phrases get translated and others you just have to figure out for yourself – decipher from sequence context. As I tell you Mama’s story, you’ll learn to do that too.

: Christmas Card 2021 (more…)

All of a Sudden a Fluttering of Butterflies

[Below, a colorful Writing Prompt from SARK’s Happy + Successful Writers Community which begat this Post…]

…emerged from the palm of my hand.

I wasn’t even aware that that clamminess and itchiness I had felt for days or centuries had been some kind of chrysalis. I thought it was just my skin getting older and craggy. Turns out it was about neither deterioration nor loss, but rather an emergence.

I did nothing to earn such a Beautiful Release which did come seemingly from me.

It was simply Grace.

Orange Sulphurs

Menelaus Blue Morphos

Prepona Laertes…

Grace,

As in Something unearned,

Splendor Bestowed,

Without Cause or Reason.

I forget sometimes that we are Beloved Children of God and Good things just keep happening.

Viceroys 

Zebra Longwings

and the Common Buckeye

Miracles Manifest and no matter how downtrodden we feel, we can do little to stop them, or to prevent the Love that ignites them.

From nowhere, and All of a Sudden,

A Fluttering of Red Admirals,

Queens,

And Pipevine Swallowtails

Butterflies emerging…

Rising Up,

Bringing Loveliness to the World!

(more…)

AMAZING GRACE

Amazing Grace
By Arnold J. Mungioli

I wake up a Crazy Wretch,
Tortured by all that I haven’t achieved,
Insane with perceived lack…
My Inner Critics reveling at a tea party on my head,
Full ground-length lace tablecloth and tea china, perfectly set.
Finger sandwiches of So Many Varieties
Cucumber and Self-Deprecation
Comparings and Clotted Cream
Watercress with No Self Esteem and a sprinkling of “How Dare You” Salt
I wake up choking on a mouthful of these Tiny Sandwiches
Grateful that it’s only High Tea,
And not their Holiday Grand Buffet.

I am awash in my own UnWorthiness.
Lost
Blind
Fearful
UnBelieving.
Now,
Here,
The Sun Shines in my window,
As if God is looking in, (more…)

Christmas Card 2018

For those who know me, my Christmas Card arriving in February is somewhat of a tradition — well, February might even be a bit early!
Christmastime itself is a time to be fully present. I enjoy this time of year with my partner and with my big Italian Family from all parts of the globe, as well as friends in different locations.
We still decorate our home in a way that requires several days to put up and several days to take down, and of course, we celebrate all Twelve Days of Christmas.
Somewhere in that experience, I will invariably experience some spark to my Soul of something I would like to share with everyone!
This year, I was stricken by the possibility of angels. Not as occurring in a separate time and place, or long ago, but amidst and amongst the physical realities of simple family gatherings and amongst time together with friends.
And so, (more…)

Create a Miracle

Our Beloved Friend, BRENDA

A BRIEF THOUGHT:

Our good friend BRENDA passed away
after a rather brutal battle with cancer.

She defined “Fabulous” — had a sense of style and a Joie de Vivre like no one I have ever known!

When she had been in the hospital a few weeks, this last time, the Doctors took her off treatment — it was an experimental treatment and they had determined that in her current state, she was too weak to tolerate it.
She was suffering, and her devoted wife, MICHÉLE, (who lived in that confined hospital room by her side for three months until the very end) sent me this text:

“Want to work real magic? (more…)

The Present Moment

I have been told that Blog Posts are generally significantly shorter than the kind of writing I do. And while never one to conform, it occurs to me that occasionally a Brief Thought can be just enough to make someone’s day.
And so, for Today, I am offering the following Brief Thought…
(and who knows, if I get a few more of these underbelt, I might even develop a Twitter Feed!)

Today is a Gift!
That’s why they call it the Present!

It’s about two weeks until Christmas!
And very much in spite of the commercial push to get us to buy things which now begins at Labor Day, I grew up in a World in which even these first two weeks of December were considered very much Ordinary Time.
Back then, we lived more in the Present Moment!
(more…)

Live Out Loud With Significance …Or… My Strong, Good, Courageous, Positive-Thinking, Magical Marvelous Friend! Part II

The Drive Home from the Funeral Services

You are gone several weeks now.
Gone?
No.
Transitioned into the Non-Physical Realm.
The Place above this Pettiness.
The Place where DICK CHENEY and I will learn to be friends — and other such Unimaginable Graces
The Place where All is Forgiven.
The Place of Higher Consciousness.
The Place we all reside.
As THE COURSE IN MIRACLES tells us, “’Heaven and Earth shall pass away’ means that they shall not continue to exist as separate states.”

Evidence exists.
Evidence may be accepted or dismissed.
But it is still Evidence.
(more…)

My Strong, Good, Courageous, Positive-Thinking, Magical Marvelous Friend! Part I

As soon as the call came through, the airplane cabin was flooded with light coming through my window

There is nothing quite like that call.
When someone is not well, or elderly, or in hospice care, and you get that call from their next of kin.
It may come in the form of a voicemail, their saddened shell-shocked voice asking simply to return the phone call. And of course, you know what’s happened, but they feel it’s impolite to leave such potentially devastating news on a voicemail.
And they are right about that.
It is certainly better to deliver such news in person.
It may come as a voicemail message delivering the news and requiring no return call, ‘She’s gone.’ I’ve been on the receiving end of that one, as well.
It may come as the name of their next of kin lights up on your cell phone screen, and you answer it, even as you are seated on a plane about to take off…
That’s what happened this time.
“This is the call you’ve been waiting for,” she began, her voice a combination of the triumph and weariness of Acceptance, when one has completed that final Journey with a Loved One.

My friend had been in hospice care for several weeks —
My Strong, Good, Courageous, Positive-Thinking, Magical Marvelous Friend!
My Incredible Friend who was so shy about social media and asked to never have pictures of herself posted here.
I shall not go against her wishes, now.
Ah, but how I wish I could show you!
(more…)

#blessed

2018-07-27 22.32.15So, what’s been going on lately?
An Abundance of Miracles!
Can you see them?
Can you feel them?
Are you looking?
Look Harder!
They are there!

They often come in GiftWrap that makes it easy not to recognize them.
All those seemingly stressful and overwhelming things going on?
All those interruptions to your day to day plans, referred to as “Life Happens!”?
All those items cramming your “Things to Do” List?
They just might be Miracles!

Here’s a few on my List, Today…

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ReAwakening: Summer 2018

The Scent of Lilacs

The Desktop of my Computer usually has a plethora of Open Documents in the Dock,
Both Creative and Work-Related…
So many Undone Things!

Some of these Projects have been open and in development for a Year
or Two or Seven…
Some resurface periodically,
Others I am just always working on…
It is a slow-going Process.

The Birthing Process, takes a full nine months to make a tiny tiny human being,
one that needs everything — daily bathing, education, clothes, Love and Care…
(more…)