Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas 1914

 This beautiful story, that I just had to share was originally printed in
Guideposts Magazine. © 1988 by Guideposts Associates, Inc. Carmel, New York 10512

Reprinted by Miracle Distribution's Holy Encounter newsletter, December 2014. 

Christmas 1914


The Great War was only a few months old, but already the two sides were deadlocked in the grisly new pattern of trench warfare.    Both the British and Germans had learned to shovel miles-long ditches in the rocky French farmland, ditches from which men blasted at one another with machine guns and mortars. In these muddy, rat-infested trenches, British soldiers opened soggy Christmas greetings from their King while a few hundred yards away German troops read a message from the Kaiser.
Between the rows of trenches, where shivering men thought about families at home, lay a barren no-man’s-land, a zone of craters and shattered trees where anything that moved was instantly fired at. So narrow was this strip that whenever there was a lull in the roar of the guns, each side could hear the clink of cooking gear from the other.  
Late on Christmas Eve, with the sleet tapering off and the temperature dropping, a British Tommy on guard with the Fifth Scottish Rifles heard a different sound drifting across no-man’s-land. In the German trenches a man was singing.

“Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht…”

It was a tune the British soldier recognized as “Silent Night, Holy Night.” The sentry began to hum along with the melody. Then, louder, he chimed in with the English words, singing an odd duet with his enemy beyond the barbed wire.

 “…heilige Nacht…holy night…”

A second British soldier crawled to the sentry station and joined in. Little by little others on both sides picked up the song, blending their rough voices across the shell-pocked landscape. The Germans broke out with a second carol, “O Tannenbaum,” and the British replied with “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen.” On and on the antiphonal singing went. A British soldier with binoculars reported that the Germans had hoisted a ragged evergreen with lighted candles in the branches to the top of the sandbag barrier. As dawn of Christmas day broke, signs appeared on both sides, in two languages: “Merry Christmas.”

Pulled by a force stronger than fear, one by one the soldiers started laying down their arms, creeping beneath barbed wire and around mortar holes into no-man’s-land. At first it was just a few men, then more and more, until scores of British and German troops met together in the first light of Christmas day. The boys brought out photographs of mothers and wives, exchanged gifts of candy and cigarettes. Someone produced a soccer ball and the men played on a few yards of crater-free ground.
Then the Soldier’s truce was over.

By mid-morning Christmas day, horrified officers had summoned their men back to the trenches; firing had recommenced. Within hours the Fifth Scottish Rifles issued an order forbidding such contact: “We are here to fight, not to fraternize.”

And the soldiers obeyed. The war, as history tragically records, destroyed almost that entire generation of young men on both sides. But there was an indelible memory in the minds of those who lived to recall that first Christmas at the front. The memory of a few hours when their master had been neither King nor Kaiser, but the Prince of Peace.

No matter the conflict that may be raging in your life, take a moment to withdraw your loyalty from the ego’s world and allow the Prince of Peace to be born into your awareness. Even if it is only for a moment, ask the Holy Spirit to be your eyes, your tongue, your hands, your feet, so that your one purpose may be to bless the world with miracles of peace. (Lesson 353 paraphrased)
God bless you, dear friends, on your journey of peace and joining this holiday season.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

What Does Love Look Like? Feel Like? Sound Like?

As a newly hired school administrator, the principal under whom I served mentored me by helping me prepare for classroom observations; he’d ask cogent questions.  For instance, he might pose, “Tell me what you’ll be looking for the teacher to be doing?” 

If I were to answer with a blanket statement, such as, “Actively involving his/her students in the learning process,” he’d follow-up with other Socratic questions:

“Tell me what active involvement looks like; tell me what it sounds like.  What would the climate in the room would feel like?”

That introduction to supervising my colleagues did more to open my senses to perceiving my surroundings than any course I had ever taken to certify me as a building and district administrator. I’m forever grateful to this man.

If I were to liken this process to my life now, as I seek deeper understandings, I might ask myself the question, “What does love look like? What does it sound like? Feel like?

To be honest with you, I was actually thinking about this the other day. It’s so easy to say, “All you need is love,” but to actualize this song title is something quite different.

Love is not transient. Love is not conditional. Love is not a nicely wrapped gift, nor a sentiment simply written on a card. Love is not, “If you do this for me, I’ll do that for you.”

Then, what is love?

Perhaps, I can scratch the surface and offer these thoughts. 

·      Love feels like joy

·      Love looks like extending oneself to another

·      Love looks like and sounds like accepting others as completely whole and not in need of a fix-up

·      Love is ever-encompassing and looks like ‘arms wide-open’ to all creations

·      Love does not judge and sounds like silence against the backdrop of diversity. Amid the din within one’s mind would be the question, “Tell me what this really means?”

·      Love joins with, and looks like a coming together of all creations

·      Love looks like light, purity, togetherness, acceptance, celebration, hugs, holy instants

·      Love sounds like laughter, joyousness, exuberance, mirth, geniality, gleefulness, elation, delight…

You are love

I am love

Our Creator is Love

We are Love because we are One with our Creator

Love IS

 Photos by Barb Adams (c) 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Talk Less. Listen More.


In ancient times, when parents wanted their children to learn a craft or skill, they sent them to a teacher or to a school. But if they wanted them to learn about life, they took their children to a wise person, a sage, a saint.  This saint, knowing truth directly did not preach someone else’s words or someone else’s thoughts. He had nothing to teach.  He awakened children to their own potential, to their own perfection. (Emphasis mine) We avoid the discovery of our own perfection, and in the absence of that, we think someone else is going to give it to us or that someone else knows more than we do.  Commentaries on A Course in Miracles, Tara Singh, Harper Collins, 1992, p. 14.

One of the most beautiful experiences as a young mother and now as a Nonna, is to be in the presence of my little ones and witness to their unbridled joy in the discovery of life! All that stretches out before them is a wonder to be uncovered; to be looked at, listened to, smelled, tasted touched, examined and manipulated.

Such delights the world holds for them as they journey through its myriad mysteries! What spectacles lay hidden around the next corner?

Yet, what do we adults do to this intrinsic curiosity and glee that bursts forth from our children?

So many of us, in our zeal to teach all, take away the motivation for self-discovery. We hurry to show. We insist we must tell.  Is there any wonder then that our kids, who at once jumped for joy with excitement at their revelations then sullenly sit back in their seats and slowly but surely loose their lust for learning? Their eyes glassed over.  Their ears closed to the cacophony of our preaching. 

By taking over, we rob our children of their motivation. By assuming the stance of expert, we unwittingly delegate the role of passive, subservient vessel, mindlessly poised awaiting replenishment by the "master."

Yes, we can guide.  Yes, we can provide resources.  Yes, we can help build incentive. But, ABSOLUTELY we must listen more and talk less. ABSOLUTELY we must honor and celebrate the innate wisdom of each child in the distinct way that the neophyte is motivated to present his/her gifts.  And we must ABSOLUTELY provide higher level, scaffolding questions that encourage our children to search broader, look higher, and probe more deeply.  

Not so hidden within their minds, children possess unique wisdom. May we remind ourselves to “sit back, relax and enjoy the show,” which will ultimately display all the wonders that our children are capable of revealing to us.  

May we put a lid on our exuberance to show and tell and instead, honor and laud our children’s most amazing, remarkable wisdom and perfection.


Monday, October 27, 2014

¡Hola, Senora Rosa

Senora Rosa is quiet and reflective, thinking of her family that she hasn't seen in too many years. How will Grace judge Senora Rosa's presence? Find out in the upcoming book for tweens, THE ADVENTURES OF THE COURSE KIDS! THROUGH FAITH AND GRACE© 

La señora Rosa es tranquilo y reflexivo , pensando en su familia que no ha visto en muchos años . ¿Cómo Grace interpretar la presencia de la señora Rosa? Descúbrelo en el próximo libro para preadolescentes , LAS AVENTURAS DE LA FE DEL CURSO KIDS - TRAVÉS Y GRACIA ©

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why I Write. Why I Sing.

Sharing my books and music are the byproducts of years of introspection, writing, discerning and seeking to know ‘the why’ of my purpose in life.

As a youngster I remember how fearful I was of the learning process.  “What if I don’t know the answers?  What if I can’t figure it out?  What if everybody else knows how to do it and I don’t?”

The ‘what ifs’ paralyzed me while I prayed for solace.  I prayed for a miracle although I didn't then know the manner in which it could be granted. 

After years of praying for some change in form...in me, in 'them'...in the process, the miracle was realized.  Not in form, but in spirit. I was essentially raised from the dead.  The shroud was lifted and Light erased the darkness that pervaded my waking, and even sleeping hours.

It was late in the game when I decided to switch my high school focus from business readiness to higher education.  I was behind my peers in taking the required courses. In my senior year, college admission hinged on a single course, chemistry.  I needed it for my NYS Regents sequence and it was required for entry into my chosen major. But fear had gripped me. I had convinced myself that I couldn’t break the code of the symbols, the balancing of equations; that I couldn’t memorize the valances or master the Periodic Table. I proved myself absolutely correct by failing the midterm…big time. Yes, it would take a miracle to pass the course and gain entry into college.

My parents, my cheerleaders and supporters earnestly backed my dreams. They invested in my aspirations emotionally and financially. The chemistry tutor they hired was (it seemed) my last hope for fulfilling my life’s hidden desire to become a teacher. 

Mr. Flynn explained, diagrammed, calculated, cajoled and then…explained again. But, Fear wrapped its cold hand over my eyes and stuck its fingers in my ears.  My frozen self perceived my teacher as a mime, he the performer, me the bewildered audience.

“Oh please, God.  Please help me,” I silently prayed as I felt myself falling back into the familiar damp, treacherous hole.

Then it happened! 

“Wait, what was that you just said,” I asked as I sat straight up, grabbed Fear’s hand and bent it backwards.  “Tell me that again, please,” I pleaded with my teacher as I peered down at Fear now trying to wrap himself around my midsection in his customary fashion. 

“Excuse me?” a bewildered and wide-eyed Mr. Flynn asked.

“That last thing you just said.  What was it?”

As my tutor ran through his explanation, I ferociously kicked Fear off of me. The preying monster lay stunned on the linoleum floor of our finished basement. I watched as he tucked his tale between his legs and ambled to the corner, sullen and dazed.

With my eyes and ears opened anew, I heard, I saw and at last, I began to understand.  By shrugging off of that tempestuous ghoul the darkness immediately turned to Light. The miracle, which simply awaited my request was at last received.

Like a starving child, I gobbled up the information my tutor was now eagerly serving me. Ladle after ladle of delicious facts and figures. “More, more!” I begged.  “Feed me, teach me more!”


Why did the miracle occur?   

Because “nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists.” ACIM I-2:2-3

What was unreal? 

Fear, the darkness, the ghoulish ego haunting my all-too absorbent mind.

What was real? 

The Light. Love. The love my tutor shared as he joined with me and strove to break through my veil of darkness.  My courage to believe that there must be another way. And, the tenacity to call out to my Inner Source in the belief that the Answer would be given. It was, of course.

Ahhhh.  (T)herein lies the peace of God. I-2:4

Photos by Barb Adams (C) 2014

Sunday, October 12, 2014

MIND over matter...

Who are we?  Really?

Are we our bodies?

Our brains?

Who is the real you? The real me?

The one who has a career?  A part-time job? The one who is out of work?

Is our real self the one who sweats and grinds to bring up a family?

Or the one who just got divorced?

Who just bought that new car?

The one with fancy clothes?  With tattered donated apparel?

Who walks the streets without a place to call home?

What is our TRUE identity?

Is it defined by how we seem to aimlessly walk around in this dream we call reality?

Are we the label we assign ourselves or others as Straight? Gay/Lesbian? Bi? Trans?

Are we Catholics? Protestants? Jews? Muslims? Hindi? Atheists? Buddhists? Native or indigenous peoples who worship the Spirits of the Land or Afterlife?

Is our real self the one that is other-abled? Able bodied? ADD? ADHD?

Is the real you or real me the one who can see? Hear? Feel? Taste? Smell?

Maybe our true Self is the one who has successfully earned a college degree.  Or the one who made it through high school.  Or the one who dropped out?  Is that our identity?  Is that who we are?

Perhaps our real identity is defined by that gorgeous figure or well-toned body. Or by that anorexic, emaciated body?

Maybe our reality is in how famous we are or how invisible we feel.



Who we really are is…


All of that is form. All matter. All an illusion.

Our TRUE SELF is our Mind. That which supersedes all form, all matter, any illusion.

Our TRUE SELF is the ONE MIND that is in perfect union with our Source; with our brothers and sisters.

Our TRUE SELF is that which preceded the illusion of form and that which lives on after all matter has been laid aside.

It is truly…




Bottom photo by Barb Adams (c) 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Meet Jamaal

Say hello to Jamaal, yet another supporting character in The Adventures of the Course KidsTM -Through Faith and Grace©, soon to be published and released by...
 So many questions pop into young Grace's head upon first encountering Jamaal and the other guests at The Hospitality House:  "Why is he here?  Where is he from?  Why isn't he staying with his family?"

Grace has difficulty moving beyond her fear.  Will Jamaal's actions help her recognize her light within?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"O Captain! My Captain!"

This past week I got word that one of my dear uncles is dealing with some very challenging health issues.  He and my aunt were a big part of my support/care system when I was growing up. They each made me feel loved, important and embraced.

Since I'm not able to make the trip to visit him right now, I wrote this valued family member a personal message of gratitude for all that he and my aunt have done for me over the years. One recollection that I shared with this man, who served his country proudly in the Navy during WWII and who then taught me how to safely drive a pleasure boat, was the selflessness and gentle strength that he demonstrated to me on the waters of Long Island Sound. By turning over control of his vessel to me, he reinforced my abilities and capabilities.

After reminiscing and offering him gratitude, I then moved on to share a spiritual message with my uncle that I hope will inspire him to, once again, be the captain of his ship as he navigates these choppy waters.
My dear uncle, I’d like to share some things that I know for sure:

I’m guessing that you know that I’m a spiritual person.  Not necessarily religious because of the way many church honchos have decided who and who will not receives God’s blessing. I’ve said “Phooey” to them, and have found the direct line to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, thus eliminating the middleman. 

Here are just a few things that Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit have communicated to me. What they’ve shared with me holds true for you and everyone else.

  • We are One with God.  So, believing in this truism the only conclusion is that we are as God is.  We are Peace, Joy, Truth and Love. We are Eternal! If God always was and always shall be, then so are we.  If God is Spirit, then so are we.  We take on these bodies while we’re on earth so that we have a means of symbolically communicating with each other, a way of extending our love, and a means by which we can learn our lesson of forgiveness.  But we are not our bodies. We are spirit directly connected with God…as One.

  • Miracles do occur!  Healing happens at the level of the mind.  If what we perceive we choose to believe, then too often we are allowing ourselves to be victims.  But if we reverse that phrase…and more importantly that belief, then we take hold of the wheel and steer our ship in the direction in which we want it to go. So instead think, What we believe, we perceive!

If we believe our bodies are sick, we reinforce that belief  and we perceive sickness. But, if we say, “Forget it.  I'm not believing that and I choose not to perceive that!  My right-thinking puts me in charge here!!” Then, we become the captains of our ship.  We activate the miracle by appealing to the liaison to the Commander-in-Chief by asking,

“Holy Spirit/Jesus, please help me to see this situation differently.   I don’t know how you’re going to do this, 
but I believe that you can and you will.” 

Then rest and believe.  

Let the Holy Spirit/Jesus take over from there.  And through your belief system have faith that they will do what God ordains them to do.

God’s Peace will be your peace.  God's Grace will be your grace. God's Wholeness will be your wholeness.  All you need to do is ask, believe, still your mind and receive.

"Seek and ye shall find

Knock and the door shall be opened. 

Ask and it shall be given 
As His love comes tumbling down.”

 Photos by Barb Adams (c) 2014
The title, "O Captain, My Captain," is borrowed from the poem of the same title by Walt Whitman (A fellow Long Islander.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

of Course Publishing

I'm proud to introduce you to my company, of Course Publishing!

The mission of of Course Publishing is to create, produce and distribute original and inspiring spiritual and educational media, materials and products related to A Course in Miracles and similar spiritual paths.

The initial book to be published by of Course Publishing, will be the first in the series, The Adventures of the Course Kids Through Faith and Grace©  Our anticipated release of the book, geared toward children-tweens and their parent/caregiver/teacher, is set for mid-late October.

My company, my book and my practice are all based on A Course in Miracles. Our books, media and related products will resonate with ACIM students and those who follow similar spiritual paths.

I invite you to follow my blog so that you will be among the first to receive updates.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Through the Fog I Heard His Voice

The fog was thick and in the darkness I felt afraid.  Ghoulish images crossed my path and my instinct was to attack. I felt that if I could scream loud enough and swipe fast enough, I could rid myself of those demons. But my voice seemed to be sucked into a vast vacuum and my arms felt numb. I could barely move.

“Am I dreaming?” I heard myself ask. Yet, to whom was I speaking?

I started to cry. “I’m so scared,” I sobbed…to seemingly no one.

The fog only got thicker. My fear only intensified. And I fell deeper into the dream.

“I love you,” I faintly heard.

“What?” I asked, as I rubbed my eyes and looked around.

“I love you,” whispered the Voice.

“Who are You?” I asked as I quickly turned to see Who was speaking to me.  “And, what do You want?”

“I want you to remember who you truly are, that you were made from Love, that you are Love.  Know this and your fear will vanish.”

“What?  Who are You?”

“I am Love and I created you. 


“You don’t have to live in that dream, in that nightmare.  But, it is your choice,” said the Voice.  “I have been calling to you through the fog, but you have continued to turn and run away. The farther you have ventured from My Voice, the more fearful you have become. Come home to Me. Come home to yourself. Then, you shall awaken and know the Truth.”

“I’m afraid!” I whimpered.

“And where has your fear taken you, but only deeper into the fog; into the nightmare.  Has that abolished your fear or simply intensified it?”

“Well, its....wait! How do I know that I can trust You?”

“Do you trust Fear? the Voice asked.

“No. Of course not.”

“Then, why do you follow him?”

“I don’t follow him!  I make up my own mind.”

“Yes, you do,” said the Voice.  “You make up your mind that you’d rather live in fear than in peace and joy.  It is by your decisions that you follow him.

“Hmmm, you’ve got a point there.  But, I don’t know You.  Why would I follow You?”

“Of course you know Me,” the Voice said ever so gently.  “I am your Joy.  I am your Peace.  I am Love and I created you in My Image.  What is there not to trust?”

“Uh, I don’t know.  What do I have to do?” I asked hesitantly.

“It’s simple,” said the Voice. All I ask is that you forgive yourself for what you perceive as your errors, and forgive your brothers and sisters for what you perceive as theirs.”

“Are you kidding me here?”  I said incredulously.  “I have sinned and there’s no way I can forgive myself for what I’ve done.  And forgive my brothers and sisters? That won't happen!  Not the way they’ve hurt me!”

“And by holding on to those grievances, and by punishing yourself,” asked the Voice, “has that made things better? Do you feel more peaceful, more joyful and loving?”

“Of course not!” I scolded.  But I can’t forgive myself for what I’ve done, and I’ll never let those guys off the hook.  They hurt me too badly.”

As those word poured out of my mouth, I began to sob uncontrollably.  “Dear Lord, help me,” I pleaded.

“Peace be with you,” the Voice breathed into me.

At once I felt my chest release. My crying subsided. “Wait, what did you just do?” I asked the Voice.

“I gave you My Peace,” came His reply.

“But…how did you do that?

“Easily,” said the Voice.  “You had a moment when you began to believe again. It was then that you were able to feel my Love.”

“Oh…my…God!” I said.

“Yes,” said the Voice.”

I laughed. The fog was lifting and I felt more awake. My mind was at peace.

“OK,” I said.  “I’ll give this thing a try, but you have to promise me that you’ll hang with me while I’m figuring all of this out.”

“No prob,” said the Voice.

I smiled.