Chapter 11: Mr. Svelte (excerpt from Chert Dog)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift: Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

Bootcamp has been very challenging for me as I am
ALWAYS hungry and get very tired on my walks uphill. After my
daily ‘choopie fit” I normally have “doggie aerobics” which entails
stretching my legs and working them as if I were swimming. I just
LOVE to swim! We also have fun with “spin the dog” which seems to
work very nicely on the carpeted floor in the living area. I get turned
around and around until I get really dizzy. It actually is lots of fun
because it makes me feel like a puppy once again. It is so important
to incorporate daily exercise into your life. As I am finding out,
I feel better, I look better and I have a brighter outlook and enjoy
activities more now that I am slimming down and building stronger
muscles. Sometimes I am referred to as Mr. Slimbutt which actually
is a wonderful compliment as opposed to my earlier nickname of
Mr. Coffee Table. Isn’t it great to tape over old messages with new
ones that are uplifting, motivating and energizing?! Oh boy, oh boy,
oh boy!

In my new neighborhood, there are several children who
come over to visit ME and even ask if they can walk ME! It makes
my heart sing and my dancing front paws sound like tap shoes on
the sidewalk. I get so excited going for walks with my new friends.
In the mornings, Lori walks me to the end of the block to visit with
a Slovak gentleman who reminds me a bit of John. He usually wears
a quilted flannel shirt just like my Master did and even speaks to me
in Slovak (Lori attempts to speak some words, but her inability to roll
her “rrrr’s” is a real disadvantage in speaking the language correctly).
Then the school bus arrives and all of my new friends get aboard the
bus and wave good-bye as they ride up the hill. I wish I could go to
school with them. I could talk to them about all of my stories that I am
sharing with you and they would laugh along with some of my antics.
Maybe some of the children have gone through losing someone that
they loved which would be something I could help them relate to as
well. I think what would be the most fun if I went to school is to ride
on the bus! I just LOVE RIDES! Don’t all Dogheads?…

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A Once In A Lifetime Love…

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; But it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

LeGuin

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On this day, May 20, 1961 my parents, John V. Marchell and Connie A. Mitchell were married.  It was a bittersweet wedding for my mom’s father, G. Clifford Mitchell, had passed from a heart attack less than a month prior to their wedding date.  Their love for me is crystal clear as I was the honeymoon baby.  Dad would often say to me that I was a ‘much loved child.’

I do believe that Grandpa Cliff’s Spirit has been with me always, as he was a graphic artist who, at an early age, was asked to work for Walt Disney.  He declined the offer and went into business for himself with many of his creative works promoting IBM in their beginning stages with their first place of operation located in Endicott, New York.

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So on this day, I honor my parents unconditional love and everlasting guidance still evident miraculously in my life as love transcends our human understanding.  It is through building a firm foundation by focusing on the gift of union which makes the relationship stronger and resilient to withstand any storm.  With the extraordinary gift of a once in a lifetime love,  one hundred percent belief, trust and faith in one another with open heart awareness; together the two open their arms wide to embrace the unknown.

As their hearts joined together pictured in the glowing setting sunset clouds, I know that their gift of new beginnings is approaching for me as their message permeates my soul.

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“It’s time to unite your hearts, for together your energies  combined are magnetic, magical and infinite in their abilities to manifest miracles.”

Mom and Dad

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“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore.”

Andre Gide

©Art and Photography by Loriginal Designs

Highland Lake, PA

(©wedding photograph, unknown)

Reflections on Judgement 

“You can develop good judgement as you do the muscles of your body – by judicious, daily exercise.”

Grenvile Kleiser

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My favorite reference book is Roget’s Thesaurus for the various meanings behind the proper usage of words. Under the word judgement are five separate meanings!

  1. Intellect
  2. Discrimination
  3. Decision
  4. Condemnation
  5. Sentence

Through our lives lessons we learn to access intellectually the power of sound judgement in arriving to conclusions in decision-making in our lives.

The use of discernment in terms of discriminating what serves the highest and best for all concerned is utilizing another aspect of sound judgement in our lives. This can also be used towards spiritual discernment.

Our freedom and power of choice comes into play when we are calling upon utilizing out tool set in making decisions based on judgement.

Criticizing and lower vibrational fear based thinking is involved in condemning others acts, beliefs and behaviors without compassion when judgement is used in this context.

And then there is the legal system associated with controlling and manipulating others in sentencing them due to the judgement ascertained upon their actions.

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“I love when things are transparent, free and clear of all inhibition and judgement.”

Pharrell Williams

It became apparent to me this morning that the summons I recently received to serve on jury duty placed me in an awkward state of mind. Who am I to pass judgement on someone else? Have I lived their life, was I raised in their environment, have I experienced the social, moral, mental, spiritual and emotional influences that they have had and walked a mile in their shoes? And even then, who am I to judge? The log in my eye requires much more attention than the speck in my brother or sister’s eye.

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“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.”

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It also became apparent to me when someone commented on something inadvertently directed towards me, it made me dig deeper in questioning myself to find the meaning to the feelings which were conjured up within me.

We all know that we are not to take things personally, yet there was a hidden message in what was said that made me “chew” on the concepts as I kept asking for a deeper understanding as to be clear about the message this messenger brought to me.

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“Judge not lest you be judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

Matthew 7:1-3

Worthiness and self-love are core issues of the heart which are oftentimes disregarded in our early growth and learning process which eventually catches up to us.

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“What is not fully exposed earlier in life is revealed and made up for in development.”

Author Unknown

So the truth of the emotionally charged comment revealed an insightful level of understanding for me that was two-fold. First and foremost, when someone is unfairly judged, they unconsciously direct that towards others. Secondly, by it “affecting” me, it shows that I still have more inner self-healing to work on in that area of my life. It’s always about the refining and improving of yourself on this personal path of enlightenment, as all messages are a present to open and reveal the gift of inner growth.

So I am forever grateful for this message, for it has revealed a much deeper appreciation of conscious awareness towards others as well as teaching me what is most important in taking care of myself. It all comes down to compassion, unconditional love and forgiveness.

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“Circumstances and situations do color life but you have been given the mind to choose what the color shall be.”

John Homer Miller

The conclusion to my summons? It is clear that I will most probably not be selected for jury duty as it is not for me to judge – it is, however, essential to be compassionate towards all as our life is a journey of the heart.

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©Loriginal Designs

Highland Lake July 4th Art & Music Walk

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“Rejoice in the Lord always.  And again I say, rejoice!”

Philippians 4:4

As a second annual event, the various creative individuals associated with Highland Lake collaborated for an Art and Music Walk with various locations around the lake.  Brigid O’Neill LaGier’s gallery featured in this posting was one of the locations to display a variety of unique pieces.

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Included in the above display were Brigid’s mixed fiber, watercolor and oil paintings; colorful painted gourds by Bill Mihalko; watercolors by Carolyn Gilligan; fabric wall hangings by Joanne Nolt and The Tofino/Loriginal Series featuring Tofino Photography https://www.tofinophotography.com/  and oil painting interpretations by Loriginal Designs, which also included acrylic wall hangings and art cards.

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Also featured was information about my book entitled “My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever” where Chert Dog enjoyed many summers cooling off at Highland Lake, as expressed in “Swimming, Boating and Walking with the Pack.” http://www.loridmarchell.com/

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There also were musicians around the lake with various gatherings throughout the weekend and fabulous fireworks to celebrate Independence Day!  A wonderful celebration of the arts and the importance of family, friends and our beloved animal companions sharing time together makes Highland Lake a welcoming location to so many!

Another gathering of friends, family, pets and musicians singing along on a picturesque afternoon on July 4th.  Cheers to all the talented individuals who share their gifts of creativity with such passion, flare and joy!

© Loriginal Designs

©Tofino Photography

 

 

 

 

Living Beyond Duality

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“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Just as the sky reflections are mirrored in the water, our perception of knowing is being reflected back to us in order to question our integrity.  As no two sunsets are the same, we are being asked to move beyond our familiar ways of thinking on the linear plane and move into a multi-dimensional existence.  In order to take these new quantum leaps of faith, our familiar way of doing things is being asked to transform every day.  This means that how we may do something one day will not be the same as the next.  As our whole world is changing and evolving so rapidly, so will our response one day will be different from the next.  This is not to be termed as being inconsistent. However, it is learning how to soar from one experience to the next as life is no longer linear in living, thinking and actions; we are now living in a circular multi-level existence, where timelines are occurring simultaneously.

 

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“God will supply all of your needs according to his riches in glory.”

Philippians 4:19

Like the various hues and reflections in the evening sky at Highland Lake, the peace of God washes over your soul.  Timelessness is evident in the ever-changing weather patterns, color configurations within the sky, smoothness to waves of the lake and season changes from the trees.  Time stands still in enormous pockets of peaceful awareness as the vibration and energy present speaks volumes to the depths of ones body, mind and soul.  Feeling connected to the magical wonder of the lake, she speaks ever so softly to a place deep within about inner tranquility only apparent when one quiets the mind and listens with the heart.

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“Whoever knocks persistently, ends by entering.”

Ali

And so I speak about the miraculous beauty surrounding us and ask that these precious moments we are so blessed to experience be treasured in our hearts now and always.  For by asking you receive and by receiving you may find and by knocking the door will be opened up to you, when it is time.  Timing, that is, and patience are the final factors necessary in creating miracles.  You must be still and they will appear everywhere!  And so it is.

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“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.”

Ernest Holmes

 

©Loriginal Designs

 

A State of Zen

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“Mine is the silver and mine the gold, says the Lord of hosts.  Greater will be the future glory of this house, than the former, says the Lord of hosts; And in this place I will give peace.”

Haggai 2:8

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“Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man, what God has prepared for those who love Him.”

1 Corinthians 1:9

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“Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?  But we have the mind of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 2:16

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“As a consequence, your faith rests not on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

! Corinthians 2:5

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©Loriginal Designs

©Bible

 

On Eagle’s Wings!!!

“You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord, Who abide in His shadow for life,  Say to the Lord, ‘My Refuge,’ My Rock in Whom I trust.  And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, Bear you on the breath of dawn, Make you to shine like the sun, And hold you in the palm of His Hand.”

On Eagles Wings by Michael Joncas (Psalm 91)

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This is the last in The Three-part Romeo Series of oil paintings inspired by Tofino Photography.  My eternal gratitude for the empowering photographic compositions which bring one to a place of such beauty, tranquility and peace!

As I took a break from painting the second layer of oils onto the canvas yesterday, I went outside to walk barefoot in the lush, soft grass.  As I walked around my prolific blooming garden, I knelt in the grass next to my Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue that I have placed in front of my white with pink-tipped flowering Peony plant, whose buds are just beginning to form.  The statue is with Jesus dressed in his white robe with the red over shawl, as some of you have seen in my photographic image of the setting sun in my posting entitled Jesus Walks Among Us.  If you look into the setting sun over Highland Lake, you see an image of what appears to be an individual wearing a white robe with a red shawl.  It also appears that this image has an individual alongside him as the red material seems to be wrapped out around another image. When my Dad was alive, I recall him sharing with me a dream he had which impacted him for the rest of his life.  It was a vision of Jesus, shining in his glory in a purple glowing cloak with his ethereal eyes gleaming compassionately to envelope ones soul with peace. So I ended up repainting the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue’s heart and his wounds in red and the cross, chain and shield in gold and the collar of his cloak in gold.

I do believe that the Romeo Eclipse is an important message for us all, that we are to be living heaven on earth now, and that the lion shall finally lie down with the lamb.

“Let there be a world to see, Let it be of Inspiration, Let there be a world to be, Let it be of God’s Creation.”

John V. Marchell (My Dad)

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the suffering and afflicted.  He has sent me to comfort the broken-hearted…Beauty for ashes; Joy instead of mourning; Praise instead of heaviness.”

Psalm 61: 1, 3

©Loriginals Designs Oil Painting

©Tofino Photography, Eagle Eclipse April 6, 2017

https://tofinophotography.wordpress.com/

This is the Day!!!

“The transcendental state of Being lies beyond all seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting – beyond all thinking and beyond all feeling.”

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

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There are sacred moments in time where all the senses are so attuned that you feel saturated in the love of the Universe! It is places like Highland Lake which have brought that sense of awareness in timelessness. Prior to having internet and cell service there, it seemed to magically bring you to a place of peacefulness, wonderment and awe as moments seemed to span lifetimes!

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There is a glorious Willow Tree named “The Lady of the Lake” whose graceful limbs with lacey leaves reach towards the heavens! Her hour glass womanly figure-shaped trunk has weathered many a winter’s wind and basked in the summer’s vibrant glory! An earlier limb was used for children to swing out into the lake as they would splash cheerfully into the water! Through the years, she had to relinquish this part of herself to the past, full of memories of her lifetime!

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On the pathway walking around Highland Lake there is a stoic moss covered tree known as “The Lord of the Forest” whose stately presence breathes embodiment to all of nature.

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Further along the pathway around the lake, there is a section where the stream and pond flow out into the lake. Oftentimes you will see turtles and bullfrogs, together with dragonflies and you may even encounter a fairy or two!

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As you continue along the pathway, the senses of sight, taste, smell, hearing, feeling and knowing are awakened in the freshness of the fragrant, soothing air. It is moments like this which span our awareness of time and we become one with all that is around us and within us. This bliss full state of consciousness allows for incredible insights as the mind drops into sacred heart-centered alignment and inner knowing. You may see a spiritual rainbow cone, or even an orb or two!

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Peaceful mornings and throughout the day, the lake transforms her appearance into something new! There is much to be learned from her deep lesson of inner knowing.

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Cloud formations pass throughout the day, bringing colorful rainbows, angelic wisps of glistening crystals, as the sunlight reflects brilliantly off the textured glassy water.

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And so after a splendid sunset, the campfires begin to emerge surrounding the water’s edge. Oftentimes, the fireflies will gather around the sloping hills as the crickets and peepers and tree frogs begin their harmonic evening melodies which accompany the sparkling starts lighting up the gradually darkening vast evening sky.

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Sunfish Sailboats sport around Highland Lake with moments of gusty winds and other peaceful doldrums. There is a gentleman who has configured a way to sail his rainbow colored sailboat around the lake using just the one arm that he has – remarkable the ingenuity of the power of invention, determination and necessity!

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Then there is the early morning choir of birds singing, as the stillness of the morning air and water invigorates the soul. Timelessness revisited.

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Various boating activities and music festivals as well as floatilla competition are just some of the many activities at Highland Lake. Not to mention the fireworks! They simply begin on the Fourth of July weekend and continue throughout the season!

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And so our lives are to be lived to their fullest, richest, reaching for the stars, pressed down and flowing over! As my Mom would say, “Keep Joy in your life, Jesus wants it that way!” and as Grandma Marge would say, “Happy, Happy, Happy!!! Joy, Joy, Joy!!!”

“Rejoice in the Lord always! And again I say, rejoice!”

Philippians 4:4

©Loriginal Designs Photography

Love, Compassion and Forgiveness

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Highland Lake, PA

“Now it is time for you to forgive *(him/her) and comfort *him.  Otherwise *he may become so bitter and discouraged that *he won’t be able to recover.  Please show *him now that you still do love *him very much.”

2 Corinthians 2:7

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Have you ever wondered why certain lessons keep appearing in your life, especially when you have done all the clearing out, cleansing, releasing, burning and letting go rituals?  Might you take a new perspective on this message that keeps appearing from the messenger – these “thorns in your side” are very well the weaknesses which will make you strong.  The apostle Paul spoke of this as he pleaded to be removed from these deeply intense challenges placed upon him during his ministry.  Yet, through these weaknesses he rejoiced, for it is through being on his knees he opened himself up to receive strength within from the Spirit that gives us life.

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Everything surrounding us desires to be loved, nurtured and embraced, especially the briars with which we may be become entangled in our lives.  At these times on our journey, it is wise to pause and reflect on how these spindles need to be welcomed into our realm of forgiveness within ourselves.  A close friend of mine told me that sometimes all an individual has left to give are snakes (i.e. hurtful things because that person is hurting and that’s all they have left to give).  Everyone is doing the best that they can given the circumstances presented to them (i.e., you don’t know the burdens of another unless you walk a mile in their shoes).  That is why it is so very important to have compassion towards others and encourage and support one another.  It then makes the journey full of Light radiating from within. For to love and to be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.

“Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.”

Lesson 62, A Course in Miracles

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© Loriginal Designs

Chapter 13: Swimming, Boating and Walking with the Pack (excerpt from Chert Dog)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

My extent of boating experiences has been sitting in the
middle of the canoe as we take our time circling around the small
lake. I have also sat on the back of the two-seated paddle-boat, but
find this not quite as comfortable. Even though I have not gone out
on the small sailboat, I have been on the front of the one-man yellow
kayak, which I have found to be the most comfortable ride on the
water by far. I can lie down and rest my head and even take a nap
and let Chris do all of the work. I find all of these experiences very
restful and rejuvenating at the same time.

The family has quite a collection of boats in their fleet which
are lined-up on the tiny-pebble shoreline. The nieces and nephews
and their friends have such fun swimming, swinging over the water
from a rope attached to a shapely willow tree called “The Lady of the
Lake,” playing on the floating dock, doing a little fishing or taking the
boats out for a spin. There is always much activity when everyone is
at the cottage. Sometimes, I take a nap on the shaded slope up away
from all of the activity. I find the fresh air and scent from the wild
vegetation surrounding the area to be very intoxicating and soothing
to the soul.

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Chapter 15: Cousin Dugan “My Father’s Greatest Gift” (excerpt)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

This past summer, we went up to the family cottage and I met
my new cousin, Dugan, a Wheaton Terrier. We became friends right
from the start! He was still a puppy, so he did test my nerves a bit,
but as soon as we both went into the lake and swam together, things
were great! We lounged alongside the sloping grassed bank of the
lake and took naps. Then, we went swimming again! Chris and Lori
went swimming with us, too. Then, they took me for a canoe ride.
I used to be able to sit up in the canoe and look around, but my legs
were sore, so I just laid down for the ride.

The real surprise came later that summer when the side door
to the house opened up and cousin Dugan’s family came inside with
a crate, food, treats and toys and they LEFT cousin Dugan in his
crate in the basement! Well, since I will not do those basement stairs
anymore (long story…), I waited for my family to get home. Then,
cousin Dugan was out of the cage and running around everywhere!
What was going on?! Finally, I learned that cousin Dugan was staying
over for a few days while Chris’ family visited Papa and Bobci on
the St. Lawrence River at Cape Vincent. Apparently, no dogs were
allowed there either!

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