Sunday, November 1, 2020

Role Models...a mother-daughter book excerpt

When I was growing up, there was only one female spiritual role model, and she was a virgin.  That was unquestioned, at the time--it was all I knew in my fairly insular world.  But in retrospect Mary’s virginity kept my mother, for instance, from being a goddess—an empowered spiritual role model.  It also kept me from thinking I could grow into someone whose spirit was embodied. I learned to look outside myself for spirit. My image of spirit, of God, was a grandfatherly man. There was no spiritual role model for a cool contemporary woman who was married, had kids, enjoyed sex and felt sexy, had a fulfilling career or a passion, and expressed herself creatively. There was no role model for someone who followed the Voice of her Heart. There was a lot of reaction at that time in history to the change of social visibility for women:  when I was growing up, most people still thought a woman’s place was in the home.  I knew that adage very well.  My daughter has never heard of that adage.  Those homes no doubt sheltered many women and many girls whose dreams were limited due to the lack of role models of happy, satisfied, productive, juicy women. We are blessed to be living in more evolved times, though it’s certainly not utopia—yet.

When more women started working at jobs outside the home—this shifted during my teens--it doubled the amount of “stuff” a family could afford…consequently families needed two cars, and they needed to pay for childcare so both parents could work.  Some women balanced work, parenting, and play in a fulfilling way; some women burned out.  They were transformational times, women were pioneers, yet the world was still locked into some old paradigms. There is more and more support today, like day care and longer maternity leave, but the underlying assumption is still there:  that we work so we can afford to buy good stuff, pay for a good education, so that our kids can work so they can afford to buy good stuff and a good education for their kids.  What about people who want more?  I want more.  My daughter wants more.  We both want a rich life—but a life rich with deep interaction, deep satisfaction, deep connection.  I seek that out with and for her.  Is there a role model for that yet? This “more” cannot be bought. It is an experience of Spirit—limitless happiness, not dependent on externals. Not dependent on external success. Not dependent on external “stuff.”

Today there are a range of goddesses that girls can choose from, whether they search ‘goddess’ or discover in their community the range of real women who have rocked their own worlds, who have found happy balance and creative expression.  Look around.  Simply looking at creative women as “spiritual role models” can change a girl’s life.  Instead of “What do I need to wear or own to be cool?” an aware daughter will be asking: “What do I need to be or do to make my spirit soar?”  She will know that opening up to her own inherent creativity is a sure path to an articulate inner voice and deep fulfillment.  And she will help her mother understand that too.

Look within.  See the Divinity we all embody.  Make the shift to an internal creator and an internal authority, and watch your daughter do the same.

The Divine Feminine

When you hear the word ‘Goddess’ what comes up for you? Does it remind you of granola? The new age? The antichrist? A fairy godmother? No image at all? –if not, no wonder the daughters of the world have searched for their spirit externally through clothing and makeup and video games.  You know how to reach all the important players in your life.  What about the Divine Feminine?  How do you reach Her?  Did you know that she speaks through and to your heart?  Do you know how much her presence can enrich your life?

The Goddess is requesting our presence right now in order to strengthen the feminine energy in the places where it leaks.  It is weak wherever women are in competition (including mothers and daughters!), rather than in support of, each other (around guys, around looking good physically, around appearing successful and happy and young).  Let’s not pass this leaking legacy on to our daughters.  Let’s teach them that supporting each other strengthens all of us!

What is missing from girls’ lives, what is making them grow up to be mean to each other in middle school and feel threatened by each other as though girl-bullying is a “rite” of passage—as opposed to honoring their connection to their inner voice, the voice of their heart.  They have not been taught to honor each other simply for who they are—differences are not tolerated, and often ridiculed. These girls are just speaking for a culture in which “mainstream” is honored and eccentricity is not. Being mean or being a victim of mean girls is not a rite of passage, it is a symptom of not having taught our daughters to honor themselves and each other (and, hey, us, while we’re at it.  So let’s get AT it!).

The Inner Voice—not to be ignored

Teaching your daughter how to hear and honor her inner voice—the voice of the Goddess--is priceless, because it is going to be her barometer for the rest of her life, as the rules and traditions of society modify and alter.  That is what she needs to be able to hear, above the din of media and friends and music and movies and tv shows and ads and YouTube.  Her inner voice needs to be cultivated; it is her barometer, her compass, and her direct link to the Divine Feminine.

Teaching girls to be internally empowered now will help them as teens, so they don’t spew out external power and a desire to control everyone around them...including their mothers!


Saturday, October 10, 2020

A Snippet from Lily: this one's for the girls!

 Which of these is the right point of view to have: thinking I’m so great, or thinking, I’m not good enough?

Let’s imagine: if we have a bunch of girls wrongly thinking, “I’m so great, better than you!” and another bunch of girls wrongly thinking, “I’m so not good enough, not as good as you!” what might happen? Often the not-good-enough-feelers will do what the so-great-feelers want, because it will make them feel better. And the so-great-feelers will feel popular and liked, when they have a following.

So who is right?  What does “right” even mean?  Who determines what or who is right? Are you great? Better than? Less than? Which is the real story?

LET’S START FROM LOVE

Maybe you have a close friend.  Maybe you have a few good friends.  Maybe more than a few.  Take a moment and feel how many friends love you.  Even the ones who sometimes give you trouble love you!  Imagine your family surrounding you.  These people love you no matter what.  You are part of a network of people, all connected by LOVE.  Draw your network of friends here, with yourself in the middle:




Stop and feel the love! Love is real! Stories are not. Whether you think you’re not as good as everyone else, or better than everyone else (or somewhere in between) those are just stories we make up to see where we fit in. 

It’s great to start from a place of love, to find out where you fit in.  Look at your drawing and see how you fit into a network of love.  Love is happening all the time, even when you are not feeling it. If you are ever not feeling it, come back here and look at your network of love, just to remind you that it’s there.

NOW WHAT?

Desire. 

I bet there is something you really want, right now.  Maybe it is more than one thing.  You want to do or be something or go somewhere or buy something or meet someone.  Think about what it is. If what you want is bringing you conflict with your self or with your mom, it is time to re-route.  Re-direct your desire.  Wanting is endless.  There will always be something to want. Sometimes we want things that will make us feel like we fit in. What if your desire could be harnessed and directed toward making you so happy, forever, so you no longer need to be or have something different, in order to be happy, or fit in?

What if your desire was to feel peaceful?  Have you ever wondered why countries go to war, and how it is that people can find reasons to kill each other?  It is a big world issue, too complex to even understand for most of us.  I ask myself:  but how can we have world peace if I can’t have peace within my own heart? How can we have world peace if I can’t have peace with my mom?  Through creating peace inside ourselves and peace between mothers and daughters we actually can help create peace on earth.  Peace begins within, with you.  Our inner voice is a peaceful voice. The inner voice tells us what to do to create peace, all the time.  It speaks peacefully to you.  That’s how you can recognize it. Do you want to learn to hear it? If so, desire is a great place to start. If you have the desire for something that does not actually feel peaceful, hmmm...go back into your inner world and see what’s up with that!

Here is my desire: “To light up what’s going on between moms and girls.”  

Sounds simple, right?  That’s what I thought, too, until I started.  I was surprised to see what happens when girls start to grow up.  As you get older and smarter, your mom seems less smart.  But guess what?  She is just as smart as ever.  It’s just that your perspective changes.  I’m here to help you change perspectives in a way that doesn’t lead to being angry with each other.

Mothers and Daughters are more alike than they are different.   But the key is remembering that! I have been told human mothers and daughters can sometimes get to feeling like they are strangers who don’t understand each other at all.  I don’t think it was meant to be that way, and that won’t be happening to you and your mom, if I can help it!

How do you want your relationship with your mom to be?  You can decide, and MAKE it like that, as long as you and your mom are both ready and cool with it.  Are you in?

Before we go any further, what do you want MORE of in your mother-daughter life together?

What do you want less of?

But before we create your relationship the way you want it to be, first you are going to learn to hear your inner voice.  Maybe you are already good at this.  Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about.  Well, there’s no right or wrong on this adventure. 

The more you listen to your inner voice, the more interesting it will be.  There’s a lot going on!  When it knows you’re listening, the messages will get better and better.  Mine is very interesting!  It is what told me what to write in this book!  Inside YOU is where the Divine voice lives.

Decide on a time when that would work for you, a time when you can fully relax.

Once you are disconnected from the outside world, what are you going to do?  You’re going to do this book.  This book works best when you are fully unplugged.  You don’t have to unplug your computer; you have to unplug yourself from your computer.

An experiment:  Turn one thing off each day.  By choice.  Determine what it’s going to be.  Commit to and choose one THING each day to turn off for at least an hour.  Notice the feelings that come up and see what your electronic connection used to add to your life.  After getting used to not having it, make a conscious decision whether or not you want to invite it back in.  If it is adding something to your life that you like, see if there is another way of bringing this same quality in, without plugging in.  

The 10-Breath Reunion….

Every day at a time of your choice, stop to take ten breaths.  Make them conscious breaths.  What does that mean?  It means feel them.  Feel the life flowing in—if you didn’t have your breath, you wouldn’t be alive!  Let life fill you up, and feel it.  Also feel the peaceful release, like you are exhaling peace out into the Universe.  Ahhh. Know that the Goddess flows into and through you along with your breath, and give her a peaceful, happy journey during those 10 breaths.


Saturday, September 26, 2020

A Word from Rachel

 INTRODUCTION: HOW THIS BOOK BEGAN

Several years ago I was inspired to create a monthly gathering with my daughter, her friends, and their mothers.  We’ve been meeting monthly ever since. We voted to call our circle MoonBeams.  I imagined our girls as little beams of light, gathering once a month to shine in full splendor, just like the moon, lighting up the darkness.  Some of these monthly MoonBeams gatherings live inside me as the best evenings of my life. The girls—now teenagers—loved these evenings. I was inspired to lead mother-daughter circles by the desire that all mothers have to stay connected to our daughters through their adolescence.

Beginning when Lily was about two years old, well-meaning friends and relatives and especially strangers began to say, “Oh, just wait.  Wait till she becomes a teenager.  Enjoy her now, because…” and their voices would trail off into doom. 

Because what?  She would pierce her tongue?  Embark upon promiscuity?  Get a Mohawk?  One parenting book back then offered that the “terrible two’s” were a foreshadowing of adolescence, so I watched Lily during her two’s for a hint.  Although she was not prone to temper tantrums, her two’s did bring on a very peaceful violation of social decorum when she got into a puzzling habit of deliberately and impishly urinating on the floor.  I was not amused. How on earth would that kind of dreadful behavior manifest in adolescence? I was being programmed by well-meaning others to expect rebellion, though I actually looked forward to her maturity.  I felt, in fact, that I’d be fine…that I even liked teenagers.  I wondered, what if I gave her teen years the space to be different? Daughters, too, are programmed—by movies, songs, friends, tv--that as they get older, parents are the last things they want to have around. I was willing to have it be the opposite. What if she actually still liked me when she entered her teens? I was open to it.

REALITY STRIKES

Still—after Lily turned nine, it seemed like some preparation might prove to be helpful.  I couldn’t help but notice that she was developing a will of her own, and her will seemed to be developing a life of its own.  She was becoming less likely to acquiesce—my formerly agreeable child.  The foreshadowing of conflict on various minor occasions told me that it was time to initiate some shifts.  I could feel myself wanting to clamp down and impose some rules—which I’d never previously needed. Rules felt potentially satisfying, yet harsh. What other option was there?

I looked for a book specifically to help me guide these shifts: hers from external to internal authority, mine from full authority to co-creator, but I didn’t find the help I sought.  I wanted there to be an answer out there in the world.  There wasn’t. I pondered a new pathway. A different perspective. I knew if it weren’t fun, she’d want no part in it. I considered what I knew about kids and yoga and personal growth.  I rerouted our path.

IT WORKED!

This book is the fruit of those shifts and a description of our path.  Good news!  Our little games and exercises and secret codes were fun!  She liked them. They were harder for me than for her—I was more stuck in old ways of relating than she was.  We began to shift from potential adversaries to potential partners.  We let each other flourish rather than shutting each other down. My teenager is brilliant—far better than I--at co-creating the reality we prefer, of letting go of her fierce will and coaxing me to let go of my habitual one, so that we can coexist happily and peacefully. And we do.

As we progressed I took notes. Those notes, in the form of this book, offer mothers of daughters support in a way that lets their daughters flourish while staying safe and protected on their journey toward adolescence.  Meanwhile Lily offers daughters fun ideas and exercises to help them go from dependence to independence in a peaceful and conscious way.


Friday, September 11, 2020

A Word from Lily Fiske

 

Book excerpt from MoonBeams: a Mother-Daughter Revolution ~

Introduction

Hello, my name is LILY!

 

Usually my mom and I get along great. Usually I think she is cool, and she thinks I'm...well, anywhere from a good person to an amazing award winning daughter. But there are those other times, times when I think she is completely dumb and wrong, and she thinks "Omg I've raised a monster!" And in those times, I am glad we did all the stuff in this book. Because no matter how much we are misunderstanding each other and want to cry, there is still a part of us that totally, totally knows that our wrath is not going to last much longer. Because there is this life preserver floating out there in the deep dark waters, and one of us just has to reach out and grab hold, then grab hold of the other person's hand, and we're good. And that life preserver is...all the stuff in this book!

 

It is kind of normal for mothers and daughters to get into it with each other, but it doesn't have to last all day, and we don't have to hold grudges. Ever. I will help you make that gruesome stuff NOT happen.

 

To me, the coolest thing about this book is that you get to train your mom. You get to be the one who says, "Let's do this a better way." My mom was trainable. Yours probably is too.

 

--Lily Fiske 2016

 

P.S. In this book you will learn to:

1. Recognize your inner voice.

2. Choose to listen to its call.

3. Change anger with your mom to relaxed happiness.

4. Finally get that giraffe you’ve been wanting!


Getting Underneath Your Ego:


So, you’re wondering what your “Ego” is? Well I have the answer. Think of your Ego like glue. (E-goo. Ew.) It’s the glue that keeps you sticking to a story even when proven wrong. Because it is the part of you that always wants to be right, and it wants praise for being right. The Ego is the part of you that never wants to give in, give up, or come to a compromise. Is also the part that asks, “What if…?” It is afraid of new things and afraid to get hurt. It’s the thing that makes you feel like you are better than other people—or worse than other people! Very tricky, Ego!


Your Ego can be helpful sometimes, but only when it is connected to your heart. 


What Kind of Person?


Do you ever think about what you want to be when you grow up? Do you ever think about what kind of person you want to be? When you really do think about it, there are so many choices! There are so many different kinds of women and teenagers out there and they all have different voices, they are reaching out to you, inviting you to join them. 


Look around and notice this. 


So here’s the big question… “Which voice do I listen to?”


And the answer? Yours. Always listen to your inner voice. I listen to mine and my mom listens to hers. And your friends? They listen to theirs, I hope.


And an even bigger question? How do we hear that voice?


How do we hear it over all the sounds that happen around us? How can you hear it over your parents’ cell phone ringtones, your cell phone ringtone, when you are wearing earphones, and when you have such a busy schedule?


Another answer: we hear this inner voice by setting aside time to hear it, time to listen. We need to set aside time because this voice is silent. So do it. Before bed, and even right when you wake up. Listen.


Want to know why I find my inner voice awesome, and you will too? Because it’s totally mine. And yours is totally yours! It will never leave you, once you find it, and it will be there for the rest of your life! It’s kind of like your best friend and it will honor you when you set aside some time to listen to it. 


With my inner voice, I can change what is happening in a situation just by being quiet and listening. If I’m not happy, I can close my eyes and change that, just by being connected with my inner voice.


Here’s the question I know you’d ask me if I were with you: How do I hear my “inner voice” If it’s silent? 


Well I have the answer, of course…through practice! You won’t hear it outside yourself, where there are all the distractions of the universe. So set some time to listen, without any phones, computers, video games and all that fun rubbish. Once you have tuned out all the gadgets in your home, you will find that your inner voice is just as interesting to be with. You will find its unique, quiet expression interesting too.


Make sure to take time out daily or weekly or monthly to tune into your new bff, so that when you are older and there are cute boys, parties, cars, colleges, and even more noise and distraction, you will be familiar with it when you need it most. And you will rock!


Extra credit:  Listen for her in the morning when you awaken, too.


<for more book excerpts, follow this blog or join my email list: UGoddessYoga>




Saturday, March 10, 2018

That Pesto Blog

When my mom didn’t call, or send a card, on my birthday last August (said the Leo), it was clear something was up. She had a decades-long track record of on-time birthday cards, so the next day I called to see whether her normally remarkable memory was failing her, or whether it was something I’d said…but she confessed, she just hadn’t had the energy--she didn’t want to worry me, but she was experiencing a bit of a health condition.

Every time (I realize that sounds like an exaggeration but it’s not) my mom and I hang up the phone, from the early 80’s until practically the other day, my mom mentions food. I’d say, “I’ve got to go…” and she’d say, “I thought I’d make a lasagna, so I’m defrosting a pound of ground beef,” or “I wish you could have been here for breakfast. I made hash browns from last night’s potatoes.” When I pointed her habit out, about 20 years ago, she said, surprised, “I do?” which was amusing in the way that two other remarks of hers had been amusing: one, at dinner with my dad in 1981, when the waiter asked for clarification on my mom’s order, and she replied, “Just bring me whatever you want. I’m not fussy.” My dad and I said, amused, “But you’re the fussiest person I know!” And that was true. At least around food. She was very food-fussy. And her other amusing remark was, also directed to me and my dad, at some other time and some other restaurant, “Oh, you know how much I hate to talk on the phone.” And my dad and I both said, amused, “But you are always on the phone! You love to talk on the phone!” Introspection and self-reflection were not two of my mom’s passions. Food, and talking on the phone, however, were.

So she didn’t call me on my birthday, and of course I could have called her on my own birthday but that seemed confrontational, accusational, and on my call the following day I put her on speaker so my daughter Lily, the great generational buffer, could generationally buffer us. My mom said she felt so weak from her unnamed health condition that she would “probably never cook again,” which (though it turned out to be true) was quite frankly unthinkable, so I whispered to Lily, “What about pesto?!

“Not even pesto?” my often-obedient daughter inquired. My mom hesitated, then said quietly that she’d try to make Lily some pesto. She had been sending my daughter a few jars of pesto a year since she was two years old--and had sent it to me for years, before Lily was born. Twenty-seven years of pesto, in Mason jars. We bought pesto at Whole Foods and we ordered it at restaurants and we tried boutique food shops, but my mom’s pesto was quite simply better. Because the necessary volume of basil was expensive, her husband planted basil in their garden. (Parmesan was expensive too, not to mention pine nuts, but there was no hack for them.)

A couple weeks later, a large box from Amazon arrived, addressed to Lily, quite surely an accident because the several packages a week we receive from Amazon are always small. It seemed like a big-ass hassle to return whatever it accidentally was, so the box sat near our front door for several days until the next time I spoke to my mom. We exchanged news, and I mentioned that I had to hang up, when my mom said (because this is when she discusses all things food), “Tell Lily that she can always substitute walnuts for the pine nuts, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea for her to consider growing her own basil,” and I had an epiphany: OH! My mom had sent Lily a food processor because she thinks she’s going to DIE! And what is her first thought? “Who is going to make Lily’s pesto?”

So, like the scratch on Barrett’s car that he really didn’t care about, my mom sending Lily a food processor was actually a random clue to the Universe, and to her smaller universe that was the two of us, that her life was nearing its end.

The week after my mom died, I was relieved, numb, and a bit guilty…for not feeling sadder. I had to convince people that I was ok—because I was ok. My mom’s death fit into the order of the universe (as opposed to when Lily’s dad died and we were shattered, because it didn’t fit into the order of the universe). Then, too, Lily felt guilty—“Mom, when I’m happy I feel like I should be sad, and when I’m sad, I feel like my dad would want me to be happy,” she’d said, at the time, and my best advice was just feel what you feel when you feel it and know that the feeling is temporary—and that was my best advice to myself, too: just feel what you feel; you don’t have to feel worse than you feel. “Everyone grieves in their own way,” Lily told me, wise in the way that a kid whose universe was shattered when she was 15 can be.

The second week after my mom died, the week after I felt relieved and numb, I had a craving…was it for the sublime ginger chocolate chip cookies from the gluten free bakery? Was it for pretzels? Popcorn from the Music Box? Was it for curried lentil soup? I even wondered: was it for pesto? My mind scanned the food world on and off for two days, but I had a vague food-itch that just couldn’t be scratched. Maybe a Jade Oolong tea, or a Bourbon County beer, or Aztec hot chocolate? 

On the third day, I had an epiphany. The vague emptiness inside me wasn’t actually a food craving; it was a vague emptiness where my mother once was, and of course no food, no person or situation or event, could or would ever fill that space.  But the fact that it was a food craving, or expressed itself as a food craving even though it had nothing to do with actual food, was crazy-noteworthy, since my mother had always expressed her love through food--like most mothers, of course, but even more so than most because 1. she had also been a caterer and wrote a food column in her local newspaper, and 2. she really didn’t express love in the usual non-food ways. She wasn’t crazy about being touched, or making declarations of affection; she was all about cooking—I mentioned that in her obituary

This past Thanksgiving, two months after my mom forgot my birthday (said the Leo), I was assigned a very specific traditional cranberry relish that my foodie friend gave me the specific recipe for. Another friend was over, and we were going to make cranberry relish with Lily’s pesto-processor…because we could, because we had one now. The recipe called for pieces of orange to be put in the food processor—but is peeling implied, in a recipe? It didn’t say to peel them first. Did the recipe really call for oranges with the peels on them? My friend Elizabeth, who has a PhD, and I, the editor of another friend's recipe blog, pondered and decided that, as it was Thanksgiving, and I should call my mom anyway, it was best to call that second.

“Leave the peels on,” said my mom. “And put a cinnamon stick in it,” she added—one of those things she just does, that are not in a recipe, one of those things she would never tell anyone, if they asked her for her cranberry relish recipe, because strictly speaking the cinnamon stick was not part of the recipe per se. She enjoyed the phrase "per se." As I was hanging up, my friend whispered, “Tell her how grateful you are that she has so much cooking knowledge!” I did.

“But what is going to become of all of it?” my mom lamented—and she really did lament this, with a tear in her voice, on Thanksgiving, two months after she had sent Lily the food processor. And it was true: she never cooked anything that wasn’t staggeringly good. It was her gift. It was how she showed her love. She sniffed.

“I just made your mom cry,” my friend said, in the background, slightly amused and inappropriately proud. This was the only worry my mom had expressed aloud about her impending death: what would become of her cooking tips?

What indeed would become of her cooking tips? She really did have every answer to every cooking question anyone had ever asked her. I made an effort to reassure her that Lily’s first attempt at pesto was successful, that Lily embodied every quality of hers that had skipped a generation, like the ability to set a lovely table, interior-design all her friends’ rooms, apply makeup, and walk like a model.

A few days after my mom died, my daughter called me from her new life in L.A.

“I’m going to get a tattoo, in memory of Grandma Bobbie!” she announced.

“Dude,” I said, in feeble protest.

“Help me decide what to get!” she persisted. I persisted in dissuading her: my mom would absolutely hate that idea, I said. A tattoo. Just no. She’d hate it!

“I know!” Lily said, “It’s so ironic!”

She settled on a basil leaf. I had lost the tattoo battle long ago, but I’m always happy to be consulted. A small basil leaf on the back of her arm, above her elbow--could be far worse.

Lily suggested I share the pesto recipe in my mom’s obituary (an inspired idea, until I saw the price of obituaries per word), and it is indeed a fantastic recipe, a staple of my refrigerator for 25 years, a recipe everyone should have…but not so fast. While my mother loved to hear people raving about her food, and while she would indeed share a recipe on occasion, I am actually not so certain she would want everyone in the world to have Bobbie’s Pesto recipe. Because it’s hers. Being her daughter could be complicated. It still is: how do I do what’s best for the cooks and eaters of the world, while honoring my mother’s memory, while not allowing the other cooks to have all the accolades?

I don’t have to honor the part of my mother that would leave the cinnamon stick out when sharing the cranberry relish recipe--I can use my own sense of consciousness to polish our lineage with some generosity of spirit. What a relief to see the human insecurities my mom once embodied gently dissipating, revealing more and more of who she truly was: “exceptional,” said my dad, whom she had divorced when she was 64, after 40 years (exceptional in his own way for even being able to see my mom, who left him when he was 72). Indeed she was. While striving for perfection for all her misguided human reasons, she had indeed been exceptional. The Divine Mirror that she is for me now is being polished through the lens of death.

“Why does everyone say only positive things about someone after they die?” my daughter asked me, ever so long ago.

I see how petty grievances and long-held resentments are so irrelevant in the mirror of physical death. Our minds are free to see the departed Other in the highest light; the survivors are lit up and reminded of their own humanity and concurrent divinity, when they think of their dearly departed. My mother is now a soul, so I see her soul. It’s so simple. It’s so effortless. The challenge is seeing it while our loved ones are still alive.

So as a tribute to my mom, one that I think maybe she would like—certainly more than a basil leaf tattoo—here is her fantastic pesto recipe. I’m pretty sure these are ALL the ingredients, but we’ll never know.



Grandma Bobbie’s Pesto 

1 cup basil leaves 

¼ cup minced parsley
½ cup olive oil 
4 Tbs freshly grated parmesan
2 Tbs pine nuts* 
3-4 cloves garlic
½ tsp salt, or to taste
¼ tsp white pepper 

Place all ingredients except olive oil in bowl of processor and process till well chopped, then drizzle in the olive oil. Process till fairly smooth. Pour in jar and cover with 1/4 inch oil to preserve. Refrigerate (or freeze).


*Toast pine nuts a bit. Don’t tell my mom I told you.


Pesto Butter: Blend 3 Tbs pesto with 1 stick softened butter. Use on garlic toast, steamed vegetables, or popcorn.


Pesto Salad Dressing: Blend 6 Tbs pesto with 1/3 cup wine vinegar, 2/3 cup olive oil, and an additional clove of crushed garlic. Shake well in covered jar to blend. 











Barbara Terket Thomas Connolly (1940-2018)


Barbara Connolly (Barbara Terket Thomas), 77, of Fort Collins, Colorado, passed away February 11, 2018 blessed by the devoted presence of her husband. Beloved wife of John Connolly for 14 years, former wife of Theodore Thomas of Phoenix, Arizona for 40 years, dearest mother of Rachel Fiske (f.k.a. Barbara Lynn Thomas, GHS Class of 1979) of Chicago and Nick Thomas of Phoenix, Arizona, loving grandmother to Lily Fiske (21) of Chicago, Barbara was a graduate of East Chicago Washington High School (1958) and Indiana University Northwest, where she received a Master’s Degree in Education. Barbara married Theodore Thomas of Hammond in 1960 and they resided in Griffith, where she taught at Eldon Ready Elementary School through 1979. After moving west together, she taught at Tomahawk Elementary School in Phoenix in the 1980s and 90s, and eventually retired to Fort Collins, Colorado, after marrying John Connolly, also a 1958 graduate of East Chicago Washington High School, in 2004. Barbara’s love for cooking and her ability to manage any cooking crisis prompted her to answer the constant stream of calls she received every Thanksgiving with the cheerful greeting, “Turkey Hotline!” She enjoyed cooking for family and friends and has bequeathed her exceptional recipe for Barbara’s Pesto to her granddaughter, Lily, after making and mailing jars of pesto to Lily quarterly for the past 20 years. She clearly and passionately expressed her love and devotion through cooking. Barbara’s ashes will be scattered on the mountaintop in Estes Park, Colorado, where she and John Connolly were married. This is her fabulous pesto:

Grandma Bobbie’s Pesto 

1 cup basil leaves 
¼ cup minced parsley
½ cup olive oil 
4 Tbs freshly grated parmesan
2 Tbs pine nuts* 
3-4 cloves garlic
½ tsp salt, or to taste
¼ tsp white pepper 

Place all ingredients except olive oil in bowl of processor and process till well chopped, then drizzle in the olive oil. Process till fairly smooth. Pour in jar and cover with 1/4 inch oil to preserve. Refrigerate (or freeze).

*Toast pine nuts a bit. Don’t tell my mom I told you. 

Pesto Butter: Blend 3 Tbs pesto with 1 stick softened butter. Use on garlic toast, steamed vegetables, or popcorn.

Pesto Salad Dressing: Blend 6 Tbs pesto with 1/3 cup wine vinegar, 2/3 cup olive oil, and an additional clove of crushed garlic. Shake well in covered jar to blend.