Category Archives: Blatherings


karenjones-27Well, I have taken another tremendous step on my spiritual journey. It still sounds weird to me to say that. I have always believed in God, most of the time I believe in myself, and I tend to believe in others. But there are so many things I don’t understand.

If you’ve read my blog at all, you know that I have issues with my mother. Now, I use the present tense, but she has been gone almost two years. Our relationship has been tumultuous and I have been unable to relinquish the feelings of anger and hurt.

With all my health issues, I decided it was time to work on my whole being and not just my physical body. So, when someone suggested Reiki to me, I was intrigued. I have tried meditation, but my mind is unable to quiet down long enough for me to find any peace.

After reading several books, listening to some audios, watching some videos, and talking to a bunch of people, I decided to give it one more try. I have been taking an online Reiki course (Chikara-Reiki0Do: Ultimate Reiki  Training) and one of the things they offer is an audio for Developing Intuitive Reiki Meditation.

I have been struggling with forgiving my mother. So angry, holding onto things that are done and passed and I have wondered why I couldn’t just undo the past. I want to forgive her. Anyways.

This afternoon I grabbed my iphone, my earbuds, and went out onto the pool deck in the sunshine and took my first shot at the new meditation. I did not expect much. My meditation results have been uninspiring, to say the least. It began much the way they all do, but then something changed.

Unbelievably, my mind calmed and I was able to focus on my intention. I needed to talk to my mother. I needed to know why she did the things she did and why she refuses to leave me alone. Well, things are not always as they seem.

Shortly after my mother passed, I told my husband, in a tear-filled rage, that I could not believe that after all the years I took care of her, when it came to the time when I truly needed her, she decided to leave. She decided to die. How could she do that? Why would she do that?

Well, during my “talk” today, my mother explained to me that her action was not selfish, but selfless. She told me she made the choice so I would not have to worry about her during my hard times. She said if she were alive that I would always be worrying about her and that would not be good for me and my health.

She went on to explain that she wasn’t hanging around, I am keeping her around. She told me she loved me, had always loved me, always wanted the best for me and sometimes she thought that meant letting someone else take care of me when she knew she couldn’t. She wants me free to focus on my life and my own healing.

For so long, I have been unwilling to let go of the anger because if I did, I would be letting go of her, and then she might go away. It would be like letting her go twice. The thought of losing her again was too much, but she made me see that I would not be losing her. I would be moving on and letting her move on.  I came to a lot of other realizations during our conversation, but basically speaking, I am the one with the issues because I am the one who is ALIVE. I am the one who needs to let it go.

My mother urged me to move on and to let her go. I can honestly say that I have never had an experience like this before and I am not sure where to go now. I have heard/read that when you have your first meaningful meditative experience it can leave you feeling:

  • Extreme positive exhileration and joy
  • Extreme emotional breakdown
  • nothing at all

I expected nothing. What I got was a lot of very strong emotions ranging from sorrow to relief. I also got understanding.

Ever-Flowing Streams: Tapping Into Healing Energies

tapping400I have known about this book for quite some time, but it took a “miracle” of sorts to allow me to open my mind enough to actually read it. A friend of mine, Mary Cunningham, who is on her own personal journey, sent me an email recently and suggested that I try to get in touch with a Reiki practioner for a Reiki massage. I was stunned. I could not believe the words, Mary is one of the most skeptical people I know, at least she used to be. Mary went on to tell me about an experience she had had, and I was amazed to realize the change in her voice and her choice of words, her overall attitude. I was talking to this fresh and invigorated person who was more excited about something than I think I had ever seen her. It warmed me. It inspired me. So when Mary said she had read “Ever-Flowing Stream: Tapping into Healing,” twice, and loved it, I decided to put my well being in Mary’s hands. Turns out I was putting it in my own hands.

Dana Taylor has offered up her view of something that has not always been widely accepted. Reiki and self-healing are often considered “unsavory” to say the least. Dana offers her personal background with regard to life and how to get the most out of it. She doesn’t give the meaning of life, but she certainly offers insight into how to give one’s life meaning.

Powerful stories and raw emotion are masked beneath her subtle humor and downhome personality. While the book is not a tutorial or a lesson, it is a guidepost to consider something more.

As a Muslim, I will say that I sometimes found her Christian analogies a bit confusing, but they did not detract from the ultimate goal of the book. I did not read this from my religious self, I read it from my whole self. I would especially tell anyone who has issues with forgiveness to read this book. But be forewarned, it won’t change your life. You will have to do that yourself, and Dana Taylor helped me realize how much I want to achieve.

Fighting the Blues

get out of bedFor months now, I have been battling this wicked ass depression. I’m up, I’m down. I’m good. I’m bad. Basically, I have been useless. Therapist says,  “focus on the positive.” I try. This only serves to muddle my brain and confuse me to the point of incoherancy. How can that be, you ask?

There are more bad days than good. No focus, no ambition, no desire. Still plenty of work to be done. Work I have been putting off for far too many months. Work that affects the lives of others. I fear doing said work because every time I try, I make mistakes and that defeats the purpose. I’m not ignoring the work, I just can’t get it done correctly.

So I wallow in the guilt I feel for letting others down. Not much positive there.

Therapist says, “do something creative, a project. The sense of accomplishment when you complete it will enhance your positive thoughts.” You would think so. So, off I go into what my husband calls the “crap” room –he doesn’t get the concept of “crafts” — to work on a projects. Now, I love crafts. Rarely do I actually finish a project, but I do so love starting them. So, again, since l don’t have the commitment to follow through and complete most things, I feel guilty because I am lazy and wasted all that time and money.

Therapist says, “Accept that your life is not what it used to be. You are waiting for a heart transplant and you can do nothing about that. Deal with it. You will do what you can and nothing more.” Well, I’m not sure where that leaves me, except sitting here rambling to heaven knows who.

I am trying something new today. I got up at 7:00 a.m when it was time to take my medicine. I am going to try my life on a schedule. I have mapped out the next two weeks, down to the half hour. Perhaps I can get things done this way. Hasn’t ever happened in the past, but who knows. I am a different person than I was yesterday.

So, if you see all kinds of strange things going on with me, odd mutterings, swearing, and other various peculiarities, just know it is me trying to be organized and productive. Oh, and positive.

Sassy Gal Client News

Click Cover to Buy Bow!

Click Cover to Buy Bow!

I am so pleased to share the incredible news from one of my Sassy Gal editorial clients. Author, Steve LeBel, who I worked with on his novel, The Universe Builders, has been awarded the honor of “Grand Prize” in the Writers Digest Book Contest. Below is the content of his personal announcement.

Steve has an incredible voice and has proven his skill as a writer. Congratulations to him.


I just learned The Universe Builders won the Grand Prize in the 2015 Writer’s Digest book contest, beating out every book in eight different categories. 

Needless to say, I’m thrilled. 

Writer’s Digest will publish an interview with me in their May issue.  Winning comes with other prizes, too, including a $3,000 cash award (on which Bernie has already claimed dibs). 

 I want to thank you for your support during the last year.  I began 2014 with an unpublished manuscript and went on to publish both an ebook and a print book that reached best seller status on Amazon in three categories.  We had lots of book signings and finished the year by winning the grand prize in a major book contest.  I couldn’t have done it without you. 

And for that, I offer my most sincere thanks. 

Steve LeBel


Book Site:
Book Trailer:
Buy on Amazon:

Fresh with his diploma from God School, a young god tries to build his first universe.

Plagued by a deadly enemy and aided by his friends, he struggles to make a world to be proud of.

Saving Annabelle

Saving_AnnabelleThere is a new story available at Kindle just in time to fill the virtual stocking on your young reader’s Kindle device. Don’t have young readers? This story makes a wonderful gift to yourself for an extraordinary holiday read. Don’t miss out on Mary Cunningham’s newest Max and Maddie (Christmas) Adventure. Saving Annabelle is a delight to read.

Saving Annabelle

“Nothing says Christmas like uncovering your tree and dragging it up the basement stairs.”

Thoughts like this leave Maddie shaking her head about her family’s pre-decorated, artificial monstrosity.

When an invitation from another friend leads Maddie, and her best friend, Max, on a trip to an abandoned farm, to find a real tree, they end up back in time, smack-dab in the middle of the Civil War. When they discover a lost girl named Annabelle, Christmas takes on a whole new meaning.

Guilt is a wonderful tool…

Bruce Butgereit, left, and Gary Baar discuss plans for the plaque that will be placed on the boulder outside the Dutton Fire Station. (C) Sheila McGrath

I heard from my cousin Pam and she had an update on her brother Gary. They have put him on an EMCO machine to hopefully strengthen and stabilize him for further treatment. I recently posted a plea to help Gary and his family and there has been no response at all. Not one dime! Now, I realize this is not your problem, but here are a few things that I discovered. These are the things people (my facebook friends) are giving their money for.

Please find a little bit and help my family, we all help others and I am asking you to help my family. Actually I am begging. If this offends anyone, I apologize, but my family needs help.

Help Revolutionary CeCe McDonald! $7,376 of 10k

Ashoka Mukpo – Fight Against Ebola $50,289 of 100k (went over there WILLINGLY to cover story.

Ecigs. Our right not to smoke Tobacco. $75,678 of 100k

Gary Baar, owner of Cook’s in Dutton, holds a tray of coney dogs and hot dogs on Tuesday, March 27, where Mlive’s Todd Chance and John Serba stopped in search for the best, authentic coney dog in Grand Rapids. (Emily Zoladz |

Let’s Raise Money for Pete! $2,311 of $3,000 (Pete is a dog)

Star’s Fight against the Blackhole $2,590 of $5,000 (a cat)

Help Launch Kilted Bros. Kilts! $2,262 of $3,450

Bite Back! Save the Bark Bar! $2,617 of 25k

Help Open Delicious Surprise $9,575 of 10k

Help Me Help My Cousin

I would like to do something I never do. I would like to ask you for money. Not me, but my cousin. You can read his story below. If you know anything about me, you know I don’t do these things lightly, and you know that I have been there. My family REALLY needs your help. Gary and his wife have a business they are unable to run at the moment. They need to move when Gary gets out f the hospital because he won’t be able to get up and down the stairs. There are so many other things.

It is horribly overwhelming. I know you don’t know my cousin, but you know me and you know that for me to do this, it must be important. No matter how little you can help, every dollar goes a bit more toward making their lives more bearable. Please, have a heart so Gary can get a heart.

And if you are interested, every person who donates to this fund, I will send you one of my eBooks as a thank you.

A lot of people have been asking what ways they can donate to help with Gary & Char’s expenses.

Cooks – Donations can be left at Cooks

Checks – Make payable to Char Baar and mail to Cooks at 6874 Hammond Ave SE, Dutton MI 49316.
Paypal – send payments to
Any amount donated – whether it be $5.00 or $500.00, in the end it all adds up.

A note from Gary’s son, Josh:

On Saturday, September 28th, our father Gary Baar suffered a heart attack and was taken to Meijer Heart Center in Grand Rapids. In the intensive care unit, he improved through the week then suffered cardiac arrest on September 30. After 11 minutes the amazing doctors and nurses were able to bring him back to life.

He is on life support and beginning to stabilize. He does not have insurance and too young to be on Medicare. He is a veteran and has coverage at VA hospitals. The short term procedure that needs to be done is a heart surgery to implant a VAD (ventricular assist device). Basically, it’s a pump that forces his heart to beat. Once his body stabilizes further he can proceed with a heart transplant. The road to recovery will be very long and minimum hospital stay of three weeks, possibly several months.

The VA hospital will not cover the procedure at Meijer Heart Center. They want him transferred to the VA in Madison, WI. The transfer is long and risky and we do not understand why the VA will not error on the side of caution and let Meijer Heart do the procedure. From what we’ve been told the VA does not want to pay another hospital for the procedure.

We are not asking for donations to assist with the procedure since we have an option to get it done in Wisconsin. However, accomodations for our family will be extensive.

Our family is seeking prayers and monetary support that can be offered to help us with travel and accommodations in Wisconsin. The hospital there does not offer anything for us.

Our mom and dad live in Grand Rapids. Dad, a military veteran, and retired from Steelcase, has been very involved in the community. He built a WW2 memorial in Dutton, MI for those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice but never recognized in the local community. His community outreach and involvement doesn’t stop there. He has been awarded the city’s person of the year for other generous donations and community help, and now is on the committee to select the person of the year.

We will update everyone on his condition and progress in the coming days and weeks. All donations will be used to offset uncovered medical expenses in Grand Rapids and ensure our family can remain by his side in Wisconsin to facilitate in his recovery. Any leftover funds will be donated to community programs my father was involved in. Thanks in advance for any help.

Also, if anyone knows or has any contacts at the VA hospital (Madison, WI) or at the State level we are trying to push them to cover the procedure at Meijer Heart. They are being difficult about that and want to do it at their hospital. The transfer is very risky and they can approve it to be done here but they keep saying no. We need someone there to give the approval to have it done here in Grand Rapids.