Share the Shelter

This link to the newsletter from The Community Action Program of Lancaster County provides some wonderful insight into how women (yes, it’s still predominantly women) survive the destruction from domestic violence.

I was intrigued by the article of the lady who housed pets for victims.   It is interesting to note that there are MORE shelters for animals than for human victims of DV.

When I needed assistance, town police were inept (duped with the con-manipulation) and there were no rooms available in any Lancaster County shelters.   I also learned that a mother of 4 children couldn’t find a place to stay in the entire Philadelphia area.

Carmel Reflection

Carmel reflecting on his days as a homeless cat

Carmel on the Parlor Seat

Carmel on the parlor seat in the coffeehouse

Carmel, my cat, had been locked from his litter box and food on the days I stayed away.   My employee would discover this situation upon entering for her shift.

I was able to flee with my cat at the end of Sept 2011, to a home of a former customer.   The family was willing to let Carmel stay with me for a couple days.   Unfortunately the home owner got weird about her space.  She began to think I might want to move in (no way) after she invited me to teach lessons in her sun room. She had her own dragons to slay . . .   As it turned out, her husband rounded up volunteers to remove many of my belongings and put them in a free storage space for a year — very thoughtful, indeed.

I had to move 1.5 hours away from the town I called home for 27 years.  Three years have passed since I made the decision to end an abusive relationship.  I was able to get out before the physical violence escalated.  I kept my customers and employees safe — but we were out of work and my 7 businesses destroyed within 90 days.

I’m still not completely free but Carmel is here with me today — watching as I write.  He’s been my comfort cat through everything.   His day of adoption is coming up early May.   I can finally say that both Carmel and I are doing well 🙂 though we still need a home to call our own.   Anybody got leads?

There’s No Place — Like a Home







The Long and Winding Road

The path to peace is a long and winding road for survivors of violence.
There may be no guiderails. We get near the edge or end of the road often feeling discouraged.
But when we look around, we discover great beauty and comfort during our travel to wellness.


A problem that really exists – Media, Advertising, Family.
People believe and perpetuate what they see, read and hear.

Time to Heal
End the old
Begin the new
Reflect and hope
This is a safer year.
Meet new people
Find new places
Comfort and help
This is a better year.
Replace a memory
Discover a talent
Peace and laughter
This is a happier year.

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to you door

The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day
Why leave me standing here?
Let me know the way

Many times I’ve been alone
And many times I’ve cried
Anyway you’ll never know
The many ways I’ve tried

And still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long long time ago
Don’t leave me waiting here
Lead me to your door

But still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long long time ago
Don’t keep me waiting here
Lead me to your door


Fall2011 – Voices

Winter2012 – Voices

Summer2012 – Voices

Fall2012 – Voices

100 Four Letter Words to Celebrate 100 Blog Posts

OBOE – REED – SOLO. Yes, those are four letter words. SWAN – DUCK – BIRD — they are too. So what’s so FOUL about 4 letter words. Those last words were simply FOWL.

For years when my oboe students voiced concern and discontent about the troubles they had with reeds, I would remark that OBOE was one of the few four-letter words they could speak openly and NOT get in trouble. Then I’d move on to REED. Then SOLO. Students would need a moment to ponder my comments, and then snickered with the flash of insight to the coincidence of their troubled feeling as countered with their LOVE for the same unique instrument.


I find that writing my blog has allowed me a way to be FREE with words.  At least I hope I don’t end up in jail for something I write here especially after breaking free from a “domestic” prison last year . . .

A month ago I was chatting online with a young gentleman (Daniel) who frequented the studio and coffeehouse that I owned and operated up until November 2011.   He works 2nd shift — as I do.  We had a “heart to heart” discussion about the difficulty in finding people who are capable of less than shallow conversation and behaviors.  Even at his young age of 24, he had an insight about how a building is nothing without the person or people who existed there.  He reminded me that the home/business I had to evacuate a year earlier was just a building, a shell with no soul.  The life created, the joy projected, the creativity encouraged, were GONE when I left.

Replacing ME with a photography studio was a bizarre way for an abusive spouse to gain power and control.  Was control more important than stealing my earned income?

I was given a small green notebook entitled GRATITUDE by the couple that gave me a room the first night I evacuated my home.   It took several months till I felt like making note of anything. The words finally came.   After I listed the freedom from abuse, my precious cat Carmel was next on the list of entries.

After chatting with Daniel, I began a list of all the FOUR letter words that popped into my head – most were POSITIVE.    Here are some of the words:

life – cool – hope – oboe – home – game – mini – food – heal – swan – head – love – book – mind – bake – town – song – sing – rest – feel – care – rain – kind – text – call – talk – blog – cook – note – safe – have – look – lake – cake – cafe – save – rose – tree – leaf – bulb – type – able – good – more – many – most – each – will – want – wish – past – take – show – wise – wait – best – soul – wake – dawn – moon – star – wing – full – help – even – ever – grow – sign – gift – last – lark – part – harp – find – seed – bulb – read – seek – calm – free – milk – fork – high – draw – clay – blue – post – flag – frog – meet – horn – meal – meat – stay – gone – sink – soap – knob – roll – wall – bean – need – pack – oven – band – bell – make – mask – loaf – soon – line – fine – fill – soda – time – pure – sure – move – give – snow – word

Crochet to Comfort

There were 2 magazines that “mysteriously” appeared in my mailbox a few months ago. It has been at least 8 years since I subscribed to a magazine.  I had no time to read the articles, didn’t want to spend money, plus I would need to dispose of outdated issues. My name was purposely put on a mailing list — a lesser form of harassment than stalking. The first magazine I cancelled, but I didn’t get to cancel the 2nd magazine.  It arrived Monday.

I looked at the table of contents, scanned the recipes and then spotted a short article that caught my attention: Handmade scarves for traumatized women.  I knew women who crocheted, knit or sewed hats for cancer victims, but I never heard of anyone making something for victims of abuse.   A young woman, age 29 (I’m over 50. She’s young to me) suffered from depression earlier in her life as a result of trauma.  At the suggestion of her therapist, she decided to re-explore a craft she learned as a child — crocheting.   Within a few months JoHanna gave away the 15 scarves she crocheted to other abuse survivors.

Now JoHanna continues to create comfort through crocheted scarves and offers them to girls and women through her website.

If you know of anyone (even yourself) who needs a special boost of comfort to continue moving forward through life, contact JoHanna.   She will wrap you with woven warmth to heal your head and heart.

Participation in art, crafts, music, reading have always provided therapeutic comfort for people in need.   JoHanna has found HER voice through her crochet hook and she creates scaves for strength to girls and women who have thankfully survived their episode of abuse.   Thank you JoHanna!


Comfort Chimes

My chimes were just one of the multitude of items that were removed from my long-term residence when packing for evacuation last year.  And they have proved to be one of the most comforting things I’ve been able to implement for healing my head and heart.    Filing for a “divorce” is a standard solution for ending an abusive marriage, but an unforseen end to a long-term relationship turned into destruction of everything I built and worked for well over 20 years.

I had chosen these particular chimes for their  finely tuned and clear ringing tones. I researched for hours to get just the right quality of sounds.  Purchased for a backyard of my awesome art studio/coffeehouse, they have now been relocated to the indoors in my new space. It was a spontaneous idea that sprung out of the need for my mind and spirit to heal while trying to work my way out of the senselessness of being forced out of my home/work through financial, mental abuse and calculated fear tactics.

I suggest the use of the low-tone wind chimes for anyone who needs to find comfort from grief and loss.    How do I activate the chimes inside?   A suitably situated air filter with fan makes just enough air to gently move the weight and activated the clapper inside.  The air filter works on the wellness of my asthmatic lungs – so it’s a win wind situation.

Feng Shui Use of Chimes in Your Home or Garden

When wicked words would whirl around in my head from the previous two years of household horror, my chimes console me to calm and contentment.  In addition to adopting my comfort cat, Carmel, my melodious chimes have worked their way through my ears to provide  PURRfect comfort for my well-being.

My next posts will explore way to create soothing surroundings in your home or place of work.     Stay tuned.   Posts will be intermittant since I am studying and rebuilding my online income producing website eCygnet.  What do you think about me adding windchimes to my sales site?  Or do you have another suggestion of useful products for me to sell.   Let me know, if you would, please.    Thanks to my flock of friends!

Cardiac Comfort

Influence of music on heart rate variability and comfort–a consideration through comparison of music and noise.

Source – Department of Management Science, Science University of Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 162-8601 Japan.


By considering three kinds of music and noise, this research investigates the influence of music on the living body by comparing the difference of influence on heart rate variability and comfort when subjects listen to music and are exposed to noise. We used two pieces of classical music, rock music, and noise recorded by a tape recorder. The following conclusions were made from the findings of the research: 1) Hearing classical music results in a small variance of Mayer Wave related Sinus Arrhythmia (MWSA) component and Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia (RSA) component compared with a body being at rest. This is because the sympathetic nerve is suppressed by the sound of classical music. With rock music and noise, however, the MWSA component increases and the RSA component decreases. 2) From a psychological evaluation, we found that classical music tends to cause comfort and rock music and noise tend to cause discomfort. 3) A correlation was found between the balance of the MWSA component and the RSA component and the psychological evaluation. As the comfort increases, the variance of MWSA decreases; as discomfort increases, the variance of MWSA increases.

Comfort Tunes

U2 – Beautiful Day

This song kicked off U2’s memorable performance at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVI before a nation still grieving from the horrific events of September 11, 2001. The power of this anthem to comfort and encourage perseverance is possibly best represented by the first two lines of the song “The heart is a bloom / Shoots up from the stony ground.”

Sarah McLachlan – Angel

The simple beauty in Sarah McLachlan’s lyrics about seeking comfort and refuge “in the arms of an angel” are significantly enhanced by the ethereal beauty of her voice. This song is perfect for providing quiet comfort when the storms of life become intense.

Mariah Carey – Hero

This is one of Mariah Carey’s most enduring hits and is centered on the reassurance that ultimately the hero “lies in you.” The lyrics are delivered with the power of one of the great voices in pop music.

R.E.M. – Everybody Hurts

Beginning with the words “When the day is long and the night is yours alone,” and ending with “Everybody hurts. You are not alone,” this is a song to provide support that is needed to make it through painful darkness in life. No song has ever been more convincing in assuring you that you are truly not alone.

James Taylor – You’ve Got a Friend

There has never been a song that is a more powerful tribute to the value of friendship. Carole King wrote and recorded the original version, but it is James Taylor’s gentle performance that is the classic interpretation.

John Lennon – Imagine

This simple visionary song has given comfort to millions for nearly 35 years. The heart can find great solace in John Lennon’s vision of a world living and being “as one.”

Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

The spirit is guaranteed to brighten as Art Garfunkel’s voice takes flight in the final moments of this classic. At one point during its development, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was called simply “Hymn,” and it does indeed have a hymn-like quality celebrating the power of someone simply being there to help ease troubled times.

Beatles – Let It Be

There are many times in which the three words “Let it be” are “words of wisdom.” Although the lyrics may have originally been written in reference to interpersonal difficulties within the Beatles, the song does possess a universality that makes “Let It Be” one of the great pop songs of all time.

Sarah McLachlan – Angel

The simple beauty in Sarah McLachlan’s lyrics about seeking comfort and refuge “in the arms of an angel” are significantly enhanced by the ethereal beauty of her voice. This song is perfect for providing quiet comfort when the storms of life become intense.

Elton John’s 1973 album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Candle in the Wind was written originally in reply to Marilyn Monroe’s untimely death but contains the universal theme of loss.