Letter Writing

After writing a long letter to someone Saturday morning, I attended the “RI Writing Project” Spring Conference in the afternoon and listened to Rhode Island’s Poet Laureate, Tina Cane, speak to an audience of school educators about social and emotional learning and, surprisingly, letter writing. After reading some of her poetry, Tina asked us to take a few minutes to write a letter to a teacher from whom we learned something important.

The lessons we remember are not the facts memorized for tests – math formulas, history dates or verb conjugations. Rather, we remember the relevant information we can apply to living mindful lives. Then Tina prompted us to circle the strongest words in our letters and use those to compose a poem. So here is my tribute to my third grade teacher, Miss Fribley:

DEAR MISS FRIBLEY.

You challenged us to use esoteric words.

Words like scintillating, onomatopoeia and loquacious.

We competed in spelling bees and homonym games,

and decades later,

when a Praying Mantis landed

atop the polished surface of our Punch Buggy,

to contemplate its reflection,

I did, too,

recognizing Nature’s astonishing word play:

Praying on a Beetle

Preying on a Beetle, a gargantuan Beetle.

Dear Miss Fribley, how does one swallow such a thing as that?

Wondering what Miss Fribley may be doing now, I conducted a search and came across her obituary:

Judith Ann Fribley, of Winnetka, IL., died July 7, 2008. She was 71.

Born April 25, 1937 in Pana, she was a 1955 graduate of Pana High School, and attended MacMurray College in Jacksonville Illinois, where she pursued a degree in elementary education. She taught for many years at Hubbard Woods School in Winnetka and did graduate studies in education at the University of Illinois. She spent several years teaching in Connecticut before returning to Illinois. She often traveled throughout the United States, pursuing her interests in wildlife and the Native American culture. Her trip to Alaska to see Mt. McKinley in the sun was one of her most memorable.

Ms. Fribley was an active member of the Winnetka Presbyterian Church, and an avid volunteer at Good News Partners of Jonquil Street in Chicago, which provides housing and other services for the formerly homeless. She also tutored and mentored indigent children through Good News’ programs, and cooked and served at the soup kitchen they sponsor. She was a longtime supporter of many local and national charities. She was known for her love of cats, and throughout her life adopted many from local shelters.

Ms. Fribley enjoyed gardening and visiting museums and cultural events with friends and family. She was an abundantly generous woman, and a wonderful daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. She resided in Winnetka until 2004, when she entered the Alzheimer’s wing of Presbyterian Homes, McGaw Care Center, in Evanston

There is a quote at the top of Miss Fribley’s obituary page: “Say not in grief: ‘He is no more’, but live in thankfulness that he was.” And so, I think of him, our late son Neil, who loved games as well as Miss Fribley.

From a social emotional learning perspective, this letter writing assignment serves two express purposes. One is to articulate a life lesson, and the other is to express thankfulness, a practice which has benefits that extend far beyond school and on into later life. Thank you, Miss Fribley.

A letter is a wonderful to say “Thank You” or to let someone know you are thinking about them. When is the last time you wrote a personal letter, by hand, and mailed it to someone special?

Slam Dunk!

Weather or Not: Intentional Manipulation

Have you ever noticed strange cloud patterns in the sky? One day as I sat outside a city cafe with my family, we noticed airplane exhaust trails crisscrossing the sky like utility wires.

I recalled this scene yesterday, while attending a meeting of the Special Commission to Study Intentional Manipulation of the Global Environment Through Geoengineering, and listening to a riveting presentation by a member of the commission, Rachael McIntosh. She began with a story:

“My sister and I spent a lot of time at TF Green Airport waiting around in that big green hanger on Airport Road while dad did up his flight plan after checking in with the weather station. Little did I realize that years later my life would be focused on the weather, specifically with something called geoengineering.”

What is geoengineering? McIntosh explains, “Geoengineering is ‘the intentional manipulation of the environment, involving, nuclear, biological, chemical, electromagnetic, and/or other physical-agent activities that effect changes to Earth’s atmosphere and/or surface.’

“There are many types of Geoengineering.  For instance, if you build a dam and create a lake, that’s geoengineering!  If you inject Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as dry ice, into the atmosphere to create rain, that’s geoengineering too!  

“You’ve seen the results in the sky.  The sky looks different than it did 20 years ago. It’s a lot more murky and polluted looking. New, man-made cloud types now exist and are being taught to kids in school.”

McIntosh has compiled an impressive amount of research on the history of this science:

“These artificial clouds are what those big binders that I brought in deal with.  Those documents outline a comprehensive time line of weather control and reveal intense efforts to militarize the power of being able to control natural phenomena.  

“Rhode Island’s Senator Claiborne Pell, pictured on that first binder, was the first elected official to recognize the dangers of geoengineering. In 1975 he wrote an Editorial in The Providence Journal called, ‘United States and Other World Powers Should Outlaw Tampering With Weather for Use as a War Weapon.’ He was afraid that world leaders would, ‘start directing storms, manipulating climates, and inducing earthquakes against their enemies…’

“Senator Pell knew of Operation Popeye, a highly classified weather modification program that was used in Vietnam to extend the monsoon season.  Modified rain poured down upon the Ho Chi Minh Trail, extending the rainy season over the main military supply route for the Viet Cong.”

Does this pique your curiosity? A part of me would like to put my head in the sand and ignore it, however, the better part of me wants to learn more. If the chemical agents being used in atmospheric geoengineering are showering down from above, how toxic are they? The purpose of the special commission is to study and provide recommendations for state regulation and licensure of all geoengineering technologies, as outlined in RI H6011 The Geoengineering Act of 2017. The focus of the Study Commission will be determining how to implement the new process and how to enforce the new regulations and insure that emissions of any sort that result from geoengineering, proposed or already in use, are safe for people and the environment.

McIntosh explains the need for the law and the commission: “No one is breaking any laws in Rhode Island as all this weather modification / geoingineering stuff swirls around us, and that’s because WE HAVE NO LAW governing Geoengineering.  We are allowing these xenobiotic, neurotoxic, carcinogenic agents to be showered upon us willy-nilly with no legal recourse as our people and our environment are becoming more and more fragile due to ongoing exposure.”

“Mark Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University says in a letter of support for The Rhode Island Geoengineering Act, that he ‘strongly supports the goals of analyzing and regulating any proposed geoengineering activity before it is put in place in the atmosphere or oceans because of the strong unintended consequences of such activities and the fact that they do not solve atmospheric problems, merely mask them for future generations to deal with while the underling problems worsen.’”

McIntosh puts the state legislative effort into perspective: “The federal government and transnational organizations have not, and will not do it for us. Currently the State of Rhode Island requires a license to cut fingernails. Geoengineering is a far greater public safety threat but is completely unregulated.”

McIntosh’s presentation is an appeal to the people of Rhode Island, “State legislation is essential because international groups are scrambling to impose geoengineering governance upon us without our consent. Either we impose regulatory prohibition of Geoengineering within a legal framework here in Rhode Island, or we lose the ability to have any input or oversight over these hazardous activities, and unelected global agencies will govern geoengineering for us… The people of Rhode Island are NOT subjects!  We have the absolute right and authority to govern ourselves.”

What is geoengineering really all about? How harmful is it? Rhode Islanders can learn a little more by listening to yesterday’s complete presentation on Capitol TV and attending future hearings. Clearly more dots need to be connected.

Interested citizens are invited attend the next meeting of the commission on Tuesday, March 12 at 2:30 pm in Room 101 at the Rhode Island State House. Those who wish to speak in front of the commission can sign up to do so upon arrival. Testimony should be limited to 2 minutes.

What can Rhode Islanders do to get involved in this issue? Contact local representatives and senators to share opinions, personal stories, rain water testing results, medical test results… and write to Representative Justin Price, head of the study commission. Your words matter!

Explore, Experience, Explain (4): Structural Energetic Therapy

Structural Energetic Therapy® (SET) is a full body therapy that treats musculoskeletal problems with a combination of techniques: kinesiology (muscle testing), postural analysis, Cranial/Structural bodywork, directed myofascial unwinding, emotional energy release, trigger point therapy, scar tissue and adhesion release and other therapeutic bodywork techniques. The medical establishment recognizes that structural imbalances are responsible for over 90 percent of the pain held within the body. Pain arises from distortions in the body structure. Structural imbalances can be as minor as muscle strain and as major as herniated discs.

SET begins by treating the core distortion. Identified and named by Don McCann, MA, LMT, LMHC, CSETT, the core distortion is present from fetal development. The distortion causes a rotation in the pelvis, a structural weight bearing weakness at the base of the spine, exaggerated spinal curvatures and compensating strain patterns in the body. Accidents, illness, stress, emotional challenges, injuries, and other life activities cause the body to collapse further into this distortion, causing pain, limitation and dysfunction. SET protocols are designed to release the primary core (spiral) distortion and and unwind soft tissue holding distortion sub-patterns and structure.

The SET therapist begins by evaluating the patient through a postural examination and then uses applied and functional kinesiology to verify the distortion, conducting muscle testing from the cranium down to the feet, to identify imbalances and weaknesses. Over 39 years of developing SET, McCann evaluated the structural alignment of many clients from a standing posture, viewing their bodies from the anterior, posterior, left and right sides. He observed a consistent anterior rotation of the left ilium and posterior rotation of the right ilium, a consistent pattern from the head down the spine to the feet that showed a spiraling twist going around and through the body. He verified these core distortions using functional and applied kinesiology.

Cranial/Structural Core Distortion Releases (CSCDR) incorporate a cranial motion, which releases structural imbalances throughout the body all the way to the feet, and begins the process of unwinding. Additional SET techniques complement CSCDR process. The ultimate goal of SET is to restore balance, strength and pain-free function in the body.

After undergoing three sessions of SET to treat my frozen shoulder, I found it helped improve my range of motion and lesson the residual pain. The therapist suggested adding regular core strengthening exercises, like Pilates, to my workout routine. Complete healing requires time, and ongoing physical well-being requires self-discipline with regards to physical activity and balanced nutrition.

In Part 5, we will explore pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapies, which incorporate biofeedback..

Learn more about bioregulatory medicine. The BioMed Center is hosting an open house on Wednesday, March 20, 4:30-6pm at 111 Chestnut Street in Providence.

Um… Watch Yourself!

After appearing live on Providence’s leading local digital news and information network, I watched the video footage of myself with news editor Kate Nagle on GoLocalProv.com, and I self-assessed my presentation skills. I managed to tell a good story… yet… um… oh, that um word… and just like a little kid, I was unable to finish one sentence or complete thought before diving into another… all of which I attribute to nervous energy… excited nervous energy… which hopefully serves a purpose, because I was super excited to appear with Kate and convey my passion for The Jester & Pharley Phund.

35 years ago, I took a class in Corporate Communications at the Tuck School of Business. There was one particular learning activity… in which each student took a turn to stand and give a speech… while observant classmates were assigned to provide feedback on one aspect of the presentation. Below are the aspects I recall:

Eye contact – Was I looking at my audience? On TV or video, this means looking into the lens of the camera and, occasionally, the eyes of the interviewer, as opposed to averting the gaze downward or off into nowhere… Eye contact is critical for engaging an audience.

Posture, Poise and Positioning – Was I standing up straight or was I slumped over? Was I swaying nervously back and forth? Good posture conveys confidence in oneself and in one’s topic. Purposeful pacing can be effective when space allows… walking among the audience to enhance engagement. When speaking before a still camera, however, its important stay positioned well within the frame of the lens.

Pacing of Voice – Was I speaking too fast or too slow? If one speaks too fast, people may be unable to process the information. If one speaks too slowwwly… people may get sleepy and inattentive.

Projection and Clarity of Voice – Was I speaking loudly and clearly enough? Because, if one speaks too softly, the audience is unable hear… and if one mumbles, the information is lost.

Facial Expression – Did my face express my excitement or my concern about my topic of choice… or did I appear bland and disinterested in my own topic? An expressive face helps to create an emotional connection with the audience.

Hand Gestures – Were my hands moving dramatically, like an Italian, or were they held rigidly in the fig leaf position? Gestures animate the storytelling.

Um – How many times did I utter um in the conversation? How does one overcome the um? Practice helps. Video-taping the practice for self-assessment is even better. When busyness allows little time for practice, one must simply try to be more conscious of the ubiquitous um and summon a pause instead of an um…. A pause of one or two seconds provides listeners with a moment to process the spoken words… and allows the speaker’s message to penetrate minds more deeply.

Um, which sounds like hum, is certainly better than uh, which sounds like duh. It is also better then er, which sounds like a mistake. Strong public speakers work hard to eliminate these annoying little words, so that listeners can focus more clearly on their message. Um, hum, hmmm… I seem to possess the nervous energy of a bee, however, I also possess an intense amount of passion… I speak from my heart… I speak my own truth… unvarnished and sometimes infused with a few ums… which I’ll continue to work on eliminating from my vocabulary.

For educational purposes only, read this blog again and imagine replacing every dot-dot-dot (pause) with an um, or… better yet… watch my GoLocalProv interview, and consider giving to The Jester & Pharley Phund.

Game Boy

On February 19, 2017, our Jester, Neil Fachon, crossed over into another realm. The first condolence letter to arrive was from Neil’s friend Trey, whose mother, Gail, was our home care nurse. Trey captured memories of Neil’s love of game play in a long letter. He placed the letter inside a note card. On the face of the card was an original photograph Trey had taken of flowering dogwood. The image was fitting, as every spring a dogwood tree would bloom outside the bedroom window where Neil sat at his computer.

Although Neil and Trey grew up in different towns and attended different schools, they had a friendship that began with recreational soccer when they were grade-school age and continued on into their college years.

So, what does one say or write to a bereaved family? How does one find the right words? Trey just allowed the words to flow and filled two folded sheets of lined paper, with his neat all-caps style of handwriting. His thoughts and memories poured out onto the pages in a fluid stream of consciousness…

DEAR MR. FACHON, MRS. FACHON, AND EVIE,

I WOKE UP THIS MORNING AT ABOUT 7:45 A.M. AND JUST LIKE ANY OTHER DAY, I CHECKED MY EMAILS, LOOKED AT THE NEWS, AND PEEKED AT MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT. I STARTED SCROLLING DOWN MY HOME PAGE, STOPPED SCROLLING ABRUPTLY, AND SAW “A WISE OLD SOUL HAS RETURNED HOME… NEIL PASSED AWAY JUST AFTER 7 P.M. LAST NIGHT.” OVER THE PAST 6 MONTHS OR SO, I HAVE BEEN GETTING CONSISTENT REPORTS ON NEIL’S WELL-BEING (NEIL WAS THE FIRST ONE I STARTED CHECKING IN WITH, AND THEN LATER MY PARENTS WERE UPDATING ME)…WHEN I SAW THAT FACEBOOK POST (HAVING ALREADY KNOWN NEIL WAS NOT DOING WELL AND WAS IN HOSPICE CARE), I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO REACT. I WAS SAD, DISTRAUGHT, PERPLEXED, AND FRUSTRATED WITH MYSELF (FOR NOT HAVING BEEN ABLE TO HELP, BEING HERE IN PENNSYLVANIA). HOWEVER, IN THE MOMENT, I DECIDED TO BE CONSTRUCTIVE AND TO BROWSE OVER MY HISTORY WITH NEIL. FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF SOME OF THE BIG THINGS THAT HAVE STUCK WITH ME: PLAYING DODGEBALL WITH NEIL’S FRIENDS AND NEIL IN THE BASEMENT OF THEIR HOUSE ON ASHBROOK RUN, PLAYING H-O-R-S-E WITH THE BASKETBALL HOOP OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSE (NEIL WAS ALWAYS VERY TALENTED AT IT; I WOULD SOMETIMES TELL HIM IT WAS LUCK, BUT HE’D KEEP MAKING THE SHOTS), PLAYING RECREATIONAL AND COMPETITIVE SOCCER WITH NEIL (INDOOR/OUTDOOR) THROUGHOUT MY YOUTH (NEIL WAS ALWAYS A TEAM PLAYER; ALWAYS ONE TO PASS THE BALL AND GIVE SOMEONE ELSE A CHANCE), PLAYING SOCCER FOR PRACTICE IN OUR BACKYARDS, GOING OUT FOR SOME SAILING ADVENTURES ON “QUANTUM LEAP” IN POINT JUDITH POND (NEIL WOULD ALWAYS LOVE TO PLAY HEARTS (AND OTHER CARD GAMES WITH ME IN THE CABIN AND SEE IF HE COULD “SHOOT THE MOON” AGAINST ME), PLAYING “BACKYARD SOCCER’ WITH ME ON HIS COMPUTER (WE WOULD ALWAYS BE OVERJOYED AND OVERCOME WITH LAUGHTER WHENEVER WE SCORED SOME ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ GOALS), PLAYING POOL IN MY BASEMENT (WITH LIMITED ROOM TO MAKE A SHOT AND WITH SOME BENT POOL STICKS – NEIL DIDN’T WORRY ABOUT THOSE SMALL THINGS; HE WAS JUST GLAD TO BE DOING SOMETHING FUN FOR BOTH OF US). THOSE ARE SOME, BUT NOT ALL, OF THE MEMORIES THAT HAVE DEFINED MY FRIENDSHIP WITH NEIL. HE WAS ALWAYS A LEADER, ALWAYS AN ACTIVIST, ALWAYS ATHLETIC, ALWAYS A TEAM PLAYER, ALWAYS THOUGHTFUL, ALWAYS BOLD AND ADVENTUROUS, ALWAYS STRONG, ALWAYS PASSIONATE, ALWAYS FORGIVING, ALWAYS CHEERFUL, ALWAYS CLEVER, ALWAYS ABLE, ALWAYS WELL-READ, ALWAYS A FIGHTER, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY TO ME, ALWAYS A FRIEND. EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS A TIME WHERE ADVENTURES LED US IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN AND NEVER WILL BE A TIME WHERE I HAVE FORGOTTEN OR WILL FORGET NEIL, AND ALL THE JOY AND HAPPINESS HE HAS BROUGHT TO MY LIFE THROUGH OUR FRIENDSHIP. NEIL WILL FOREVER BE WITH ME IN SPIRIT. I WOULD LIKE TO SINCERELY THANK ALL OF YOU FOR LETTING ME KNOW AND BECOME FRIENDS WITH SUCH A CARING AND GENUINE MAN. I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE THE MOST SINCERE OF CONDOLENCES TO EACH OF YOU. WHAT GIVES ME COMFORT IS KNOWING THAT NEIL’S LIFE AND EVERYONE’S MEMORIES OF NEIL SHALL NEVER FADE. EACH PERSON WHOM NEIL HAS TOUCHED IN HIS LIFE WILL BRING NEIL IN SPIRIT WITH THEM IN THEIR EXPERIENCES AROUND THE WORLD. NEIL WILL BE LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. JUST BECAUSE NEIL HAS PASSED DOES NOT MEAN THE CELEBRATION OF HIS LIFE IS OVER. RATHER, THE CELEBRATION OF HIS LIFE HAS MERELY HIT A NEW PHASE, ONE IN WHICH MEMORIES OF HIM AND WITH HIM WILL LIVE ON FOREVER.

BY YOUR SIDE IN THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS,

TREY 20 FEBRUARY, 2017

This letter brought immediate comfort and some laughter. Trey mentions “SHOOT THE MOON” and ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ GOALS. Shooting the moon is what one tries to do when dealt a really lousy hand of cards in the game of Hearts. It’s risky, yet fun. One plays to win all the hearts and the queen of spades. He who successfully shoots the moon is the biggest winner. If Neil’s life was just a game, shooting the moon was the best metaphor to describe his approach to that game.

Neil was named, in part, for Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut to step on the moon. At the time of his naming, we were unaware that the name Neil means champion. He had a strategic mind, which he used to his advantage in competitive chess and tennis, however, he was game for any game.

Neil’s playful spirit reflected the rhyme from a favorite story book, The Jester Has Lost His Jingle: “But one was still happy and bubbled with joy, for he played with life as you play with a toy.” We continue to honor Neil, by raising funds in his memory to The Jester & Pharley Phund. which delivers Jester books, dolls and joy to pediatric cancer patients and other children facing a wide range of other serious life challenges.

Explore, Experience, Explain (3): Hemo-Sonic Therapy

The human body is like an electric battery; all of the cells within the body carry voltage, the electric charges necessary to maintain optimum health. The average human body is comprised of approximately 37.2 trillion cells! Within the cells are mitochondria, bacteria-like organelles which produce the energy that fuels the cells and regulates cellular metabolism. Aging, injury, nutritional deficiencies, toxic exposure and disease damage mitochondria, depleting energy, blocking energy flow and bringing on the decline of cellular health. Bioregulatory medicine uses a variety of evidence-based energy technologies to help repair cellular dysfunction.

I began exploring and experiencing some of these new therapies at the BioMed Center in Providence, in order to learn how they work and to better explain them to others. In Part 2 of this blog series, I explained the lymph system, shared a problem with lymph blockage (frozen shoulder), and presented some movement strategies to improve the flow of lymph. In this installment, I start to explore the added benefits of energy therapy.

Hemo-Sonic Lymph and Tissue Light therapy uses light, sound and biofeedback from the body to synchronize and improve blood and lymph circulation. Blood and lymph are fluids. Blood carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells, while lymph and blood carries metabolic waste away from the cells. Lymph contains infection-fighting white blood cells, which bathe the tissues and carry toxins out to the bloodstream to be eliminated from the body. When applied to the outer surface of the body, light emissions from the hand-held Hemo-Sonic device are translated into the sonic range of frequency. The device transmits its energy and information in the same way that dolphins communicate under water. The resulting vibrations assist human physiology at the most fundamental level, detoxifying the fluid mass of the body.

The therapeutic effects of this method promote normal fluid equilibrium, re-polarizing blood platelets responsible for transporting oxygen. This helps to maintain the aerobic state of energy production at the intracellular level. The therapy also destroys invading antigens and removes toxic chemicals and heavy metal contamination, and it optimizes a body’s immune function. Once detoxification is accomplished, the higher functions of the endocrine system can begin to heal tissue at a deeper level. Hemo-Sonic therapy is a gentle, highly effective detoxification therapy which is relaxing and supportive to the immune and endocrine systems.

In Part 4, we will explore Structural Energetic Therapy® (SET) is a head-to-toe bodywork treatment that addresses musculoskeletal problems with a combination of techniques.

Learn more about bioregulatory medicine. The BioMed Center is hosting an open house on Wednesday, March 20, 4:30-6pm at 111 Chestnut Street in Providence.

Jingle Bells, Jingle Shells

Walking Rome Point beach during low tide today, Dean and I noticed lots of iridescent Toenail Shells sticking out of the sand, shiny in the sunlight. These paper-thin hinged shells belong to a small mollusk. The upper half of the shell is convex and movable, while the lower half stays fixed in place. Byssal threads, secreted by a gland near the mollusk’s foot, pass through a hole in the bottom of the shell and anchor the creature to a rock or other hard substrate. Mollusks, which include scallops, clams, oysters and mussels, are filter feeders, taking in water and filtering plankton and other food through ciliated gills – gills with hairlike projections.

Toenail Shells we found scattered along the beach

Measuring 1-2 inches, the coin-shaped yellow-gold or silvery-colored shells of this mollusk are a treasure from the sea. I knew the Toenail Shell by another, a more fanciful, name. What was it? I couldn’t remember. Oh, well. Then as we continued walking along the shore, I spied a ball – a very odd ball. It was metallic-colored and perforated with two rows of oblong holes, like a big jingle bell. I picked it up, only to discover it was a plastic wiffle ball that had acquired a tarnished gold appearance from a thin coating of algae.

Jingle Ball or Jingle Bell?

Then I realized that in my hand I held a clue to answer my question. It was as if I were playing a game of charades with some unseen team mate. Sounds like… “Jingle Bells…” Jingle Shells!

Jingle shells are a favorite find for beachcombers, often used to make necklaces or wind chimes. The shell is named for the sound made when several shells are strung together as a chime. The jingle sound is also heard when waves beat down upon beaches strewn with shells, and it is the sound of lose coins shaking around in a money pouch.

A hand full of sea treasure

Jingle Shells, Jingle Bells… The jingle shells scattered around the beach made me think of the jingle bells we had strewn around the church reception hall after our son’s memorial service, almost two years ago. The bells were a token of remembrance for guests to take home. Each golden bell was tied with a gold ribbon, the symbol of childhood cancer, and sparkly pipe cleaner twists, our family’s symbol of spirit (jingle token shown in banner up top), which has a special story behind it…

When Neil was about five years old, he opened a bag of sparkly pipe cleaners, twisted them into odd shapes and scattered them on window sills and tables around our home. It was Christmas time, and he told us he was decorating the house with “spirits.” The setting out of spirits became his annual tradition, which we continue to do in his memory.

So, is it coincidence that I had written about a “lost jingle” in my blog just the day before?… “One unforgettable character in The Jester Has Lost His Jingle is a little girl lying in a hospital bed with her head wrapped in a bandage. The jester visits her room, talks with her and tries to cheer her up. It is the most precious moment of the story.” This page is where the Jester finds his lost jingle – his ability to bring joy and laughter to others. Maybe it is just coincidence.

David Saltzman’s illustration on the book page where the Jester finds his jingle

Is it coincidence that the only other piece of plastic trash I found on the beach was a red cap? A red cap with a crown insignia on it (the Jester wears a red cap)? A symbol that I interpret to mean the jingle ball was a secret divinely-timed message from the King of Fools? Maybe it is just coincidence or it is just me finding my own meaning in something silly.

The red cap

And, is it coincidence that I posted the following appeal on facebook yesterday? “We’ve raised over $20,000 for the Jester & Pharley Phund over the past two years in memory of our son, Neil, and we’re asking for your help to raise awareness, and $20,000 more, this coming week. Please share this story, and help send the ripples of love further outward. https://wendyfachon.blog/2019/02/15/be-a-difference-maker/

Is it any coincidence that today’s story reflects the section of a manuscript I was also working on yesterday, trying to explain my spiritual practice of Story Walking?… “Story Walking is best described as a spiritual detective reality game detective reality game that leads players into mystical encounters with Mother Nature and creative Spirit. Imagine opening the front door, stepping out onto a giant game board and into a storybook life… In Story Walking, players walk, look, listen and follow subtle clues that appear, usually at their feet, to guide the action forward… Players choose where to go and which path to follow in order to get there… Players make new choices based on what happens as the game advances forward. In other words, each player writes the part of the story over which he or she has control, while allowing the rest of the story to unfold as it will, asking that it do so for the higher good of all… Story Walking is learned through the sharing of stories that provide examples of where to walk, what types of clues to seek and how to interpret codes and signs. By sharing their own personal stories, Story Walkers teach others how to engage in the mysterious game.”

And, is it any coincidence that in the afternoon of the same day, as I was taking another walk around our neighborhood block, I found what appeared to be a little coin pouch? Something to hold a red cap and a few jingle shells or perhaps something to help collect coins? If you believe in the magic of a jingle, please consider giving $10 to The Jester & Pharley Phund , so that the Phund can send the Jester’s joyful story to a child facing a serious life challenge.

A pretty pouch