"No service is too small when given mindfully, with good intention and an open heart."

Sighi Cognetta
Penobscot, ME

WHY I DO THIS: I was a runaway at age 16. Lack of education and lack of skills made my life unbearable until people of all races heard my cries and came to help. Now I’m retired. It’s my turn to give.

DEAR NEIGHBORCARE FRIENDS: Before he died two years ago from polio and muscle dystrophy, a young Laotian man named Khamphapan was a singer-songwriter. Landmines, malnutrition, inadequate medical systems, soil contamination were only a few of the tribulations he faced in a country still suffering the aftermath of the Vietnam war. Khamphapan was the size of a child but far from lightweight in courage. For hours he sat alone beneath the shade tree where his grandfather carried him each day before working in the fields. He wrote poems in a little notebook his mother had given him and listened to a radio. After work, his grandfather returned to carry him home. Who would think that a singular, life changing good would find him, confined as he was to such a desolate place? Yet it did, just as spring comes some years when we least expect it, as if (as a wise old teaching says) any good he was seeking was seeking him. Reading Khamphapan’s story on the Music Laos Project website is to soar with celebration of the power of small gifts. ( Will you honor Khamphapan’s memory by going there?

Sometimes things don’t go, after all/from bad to worse. Some years, muscatel/faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,/sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well./
A people sometimes will step back from war;/elect an honest man; decide they care/enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor./Some men become as they were meant to./ The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow/that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.
“Sometimes”/Sheenagh Pugh

NEIGHBORCARE NEWS A man called needing help for his 90+ year-old mother. She had recently moved from mid-Maine to the special section of his home he and his wife created for her.The mother was lonely here—the daughter-in-law, ill and requiring most of the son’s attention. A NEIGHBORCARE friend happened to think of someone new in the community who might want to help—and did she! By taking the elderly woman on outings. By welcoming this woman into her home. By inviting others in to meet her. And hats off to the man who, without a word/need for thanks, snowplowed a volunteer’s driveway early in the morning so she could get out to help others.

STORY A master told a story of three warriors placed in charge of protecting a city that was plagued by a large and ferocious demon. Each of the three took turns throughout the night to ward off the demon. One stayed on duty while the other two slept. The first protector on his watch successfully fought off the demon and protected the city, but when he came to his bed to sleep he was badly scratched and mutilated. The second protector awoke and assumed his watch and he too returned with his body all scratched up from fighting the demon. The third protector woke and went to stand watch. As he stood in the darkness he put his hand out to the invisible demon and said, "Oh, you beautiful demon. You are so lovely. You are so special. You are so wise and gentle. I love you. I honor you. I respect you." He whispered beautiful things to the demon throughout his entire watch, and he saw the demon melt and disappear. When he finished his watch he returned to his bed unscathed and unharmed.

FOR PONDERING I am learning to let the universe do its part as I do mine. Think of it. A man pulled from death, nursed to health, and handed a violin, becomes a famous conductor/pianist. A person rescued from a massacre, as close to his end as anyone could be, becomes a great leader. What we are destined for, we can’t imagine. We must be prepared to be surprised.
Isaac Luria, the renowned sixteenth century Kabbalist, used the phrase “tikkun olam,” usually translated as repairing the world, to encapsulate the true role of humanity in the ongoing evolution and spiritualization of the cosmos. Luria taught that God created the world by forming vessels of light to hold the Divine Light. But as God poured the Light into the vessels, they catastrophically shattered, tumbling down toward the realm of matter. Thus, our world consists of countless shards of the original vessels entrapping sparks of the Divine Light. Humanity’s great task involves helping God by freeing and reuniting the scattered Light, raising the sparks back to Divinity and restoring the broken world. —

TIP I really enjoyed the most recent edition of the NEIGHBORCARE newsletter. Now I will add my two cents regarding skunking. First, I may be alone on the planet, but I stopped bathing my dogs with my last one, Agnes. She loved to go out in the rain and hated water that was not of her own choosing, and guess what? Both she and my current companion, a yellow Lab, had/have coats that smell good, feel soft and thick, with little scratching. When my dog has gotten skunked, no bathing. Just put your critter (or yourself, or your clothes) in a room with open bowls of white vinegar set out. Leave overnight. In the morning, if you put your nose to your dog's coat, you will be able to smell a faint odor of skunk (which I actually like). The vinegar will have no pungency left and should be put down the sink drain. Much easier than bathing, and much less traumatic for doggy friends! —a NEIGHBORCARE friend/Unity, Maine

FROM THE NOT-A-DOCTOR   If you know someone using crutches or a walker, offer them a pair of biking or golfing gloves. These are padded, have no fingers, and are fitting for the elderly (or anyone) whose skin is sensitive to friction.

FOR THE VOICELESS   In honor of your dog who may be lying cozy and protected at your feet, go to the Maine Friends of Animals website and add your voice to those helping dogs chained forever in their yards (Dogs Chained for Life campaign). Just a click or two—that’s what it will take to help. If, as many know to be true, Maine’s a neighborhood, then these dogs suffer in our own backyards. A phrase featured on the website: Silence is complicity.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED   the movie Crash, for its truth and humanity.

REMINDERS   How we greet folks on the phone when we realize who’s calling says a lot to them about how we feel about hearing from them, Think of a time someone sang out your name when you called, and your heart sang, hearing that. Think of a time when someone (hearing your voice) sounded as if s/he’d prefer prison in Slobovia to exchanging a few words with you (even though, later, that person may have shifted into a cheerier gear). What did your heart do then?
To paint a leaf, you have to sacrifice the whole landscape. It might seem like you’re limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter-of-an-inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky.
The History of Love/ Nicole Krauss

FROM THE KITCHEN  A “hit” at a NEIGHBORCARE potluck, thanks to a Stonington NEIGHBORCARE friend.
POTATO PARSNIP SOUP (Use more or less of any ingredient, according to taste.) PEEL AND SLICE 6 potatoes, 4 parsnips, 1 carrot, 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, celery stalks. SAUTÉ in 4 T butter (or olive oil or combination), stirring. ADD 1/4 tsp each turmeric, coriander, cayenne, 1/2 tsp each curry powder, salt. ADD 2 cups each water and vegetable broth. SIMMER until vegetables are tender. PUREE. SEPARATELY, COMBINE BY STIRRING 3 T flour and 1/2 cup light sour cream. ADD/BLEND MIXTURE INTO PUREE. SIMMER to thicken.

CARING IN REMEMBERED WAYS   When you’re visiting someone who is ill or lonely, tell this person you’re leaving ten or fifteen minutes before you actually have to leave—not one or two minutes before. What bubbles up when your coat’s on, and your hand’s turning the door knob, often is what’s most heartfelt and pressing to be said.
Disease is in essence the result of conflict between Soul and Mind . . . . So long as our Souls and personalities are in harmony all is joy and peace, happiness and health. It is when our personalities are led astray from the path laid down by the Soul, either by our own worldly desires or by the persuasion of others, that a conflict arises. —Edward Bach

LIVING QUESTIONS   Scientifically it’s been proven that everything is interconnected. So when is enough enough? We could keep on forever if we wanted to. Already we spin and spin in our rooms and in our lives. How do we stop careening from one notion to another and from one act to another (no matter how ostensibly fine and worthwhile) when the true gold of interconnectedness—seeing beauty in each other and in ourselves—is most often born of quiet?
from a favorite song of mine by Gordon Bok: “Turning Toward the Morning
O my Joanie don’t you know/THAT the stars are swinging low/And the seas are rolling easy as they did so long ago?/
If I had a thing to give you, I would tell you one more time/That the world is always turning toward the morning.

NOTE: Though I may be away from the Blue Hill peninsula from time to time, I happily continue doing NEIGHBORCARE from the road.
Please do not hesitate to call for service (anytime at all), or just to say hello. 207.266.7673

A NEIGHBORCARE “MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK” POTLUCK took place in Luke and Anne Williams’ home in Stonington on Friday, March 17th.
(NOTE: December potluck took place in Linda and Ted Hoskins home in Blue Hill.)
Several of us shared fine food and talk and addressed NEIGHBORCARE newsletters.
We’ll continue to move the potluck to various peninsula locations.

Not necessarily the same people will be gathering each time. As always, don’t think for a minute you have to be a signed-up volunteer to be part of our group.

“. . . There are three necessary prayers and they have three words each. They are these: Lord have mercy. Thee I adore. Into Thy hands. . . .”
—from The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge

Blessings all around you—this spring and in every season,
maggie davis, for NEIGHBORCARE

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maggie davis
PO Box 370, Blue Hill, ME 04614-0370

Copyright © 1998 - 2019 maggie davis. All Rights Reserved.