A Gigantic Christmas Tree

This afternoon, I read about a gigantic lighted Christmas tree that is near 14th Avenue S and S Judkins Street in Seattle. I was intrigued. Since that location isn’t far from where I live, I got in my car and set off to find the tree soon after the sky became dark.

Gigantic is certainly an appropriate word; the lighted tree towers over apartment buildings. I couldn’t see the whole tree, but I took photos from three different vantage points.

I have no idea how someone managed to do this.

Christmas Eve in Amritapuri

This will be the second of three posts about Christmas Eve in Amritapuri. In the first one I told readers a bit about the story line and shared a video clip from one of the early practices. (To read that post click here.)

It has seemed to me as if there have been fewer people at the ashram than is usual for a holiday season. That changed dramatically on Christmas Eve. Not only was there a big influx of Indian and Western visitors, but that morning was  the beginning of the AYUDH National Leadership Summit. Six hundred youth from 15 to 35 years-of-age participated in that event.

This photo taken during the Christmas Eve program will give you a sense of the size of the crowd. There were additional seats set up in areas that are not visible in this picture.

Amma gave darshan (hugs) until 11:00 pm. The cast set up the stage for the play at the same time, meaning they were putting up equipment and sets all around her.

By 11:30 pm, Amma was sitting in the hall with us and the play began.

Notes:  1) There is a post on Amma’s Facebook Page that shares a detailed description of the play’s story-line.  2) You can click on the gallery below to enlarge the photos.

The play was wonderful, moving the audience to tears, laughter and repeated applause.

After the play we listened to Amma’s Christmas message. I will share the content of that speech if it is posted online later. After the Christmas message was finished, Amma sang Only Love is our Guiding Light and Jai Mata Di Jaykar Bulavo and then blessed the Christmas cake. Soon everyone had a sweet to end the night.

The program finished sometime between 2:00 and 2:30 am. What a beautiful evening it had been.

Notes: 1) The photos on this post come from Amma’s Facebook page and Amritapuri.org  2) I expect to publish the third post about the play later in the week.

To read the previous posts in this series click here.

Mystery Solved

I posted the other day about an unusual insect I saw in Saraswati Garden. At the time, I thought it was a butterfly or a moth but I couldn’t find a photo on the internet that was anything like it.

Today I went to the Tulasi Farm in Amritapuri and there was an area that had MANY of these insects. In watching them fly, I knew they weren’t either butterflies or moths. They moved so fast I couldn’t see them well, but I thought they might be dragon flies.

When I looked on the internet, I discovered there are 91 species of dragon flies in Kerala. I was able to find a photo of one that looked similar to what I had seen.

Wikimedia Commons

The Day I Became a Train Hopper

Today, I was telling a friend about this post. It is one I wrote in 2014. Since I’m not writing new posts until my wrist heals, I thought I would reblog this one. Enjoy!

Living, Learning and Letting Go

Photo Credit:  Wikimedia Photo Credit: Wikimedia

I didn’t start that January 2014 day planning on becoming a train hopper.  Far from it.  My intention was to accompany my daughter, Chaitanya, to her dentist appointment.  Since her appointment was at Amma’s multi-speciality hospital in Kochi (India), several hours away from her ashram in Amritapuri where Chaitanya lives, it was bound to be an adventure, but train hopping was not supposed to be part of it.

Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS)

Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) began in 1998 as a 100 bed hospital and has grown into a 1400 bed tertiary care center with a campus that includes a School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Dentistry, School of Pharmacy, and a Center for Nano-sciences and Molecular Medicine.

I have wanted to see AIMS for a long time, but once I arrive at the ashram on my yearly India…

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The Eagles (for once, NOT the rock band)

Today, the 4th of July holiday, seems like the perfect day to reblog Kathie’s ChosenPerspectives post about her bald eagle visitors. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. What an incredible life experience.


I have delayed, avoided, and postponed writing this because I wanted to find the words to convey my recent profound experience.

For more than a month, we have had Bald Eagles visiting on our quiet little dead-end street, unusual in the middle of one of the largest, fastest growing cities in Washington state.

I’ve lived in my home for almost 44 years and have sometimes seen eagles circling high above.  Twice, I was even gifted with a low fly-by right in my driveway! But I have only seen them land once before. (I wrote a whole story about that dramatic event but I’ll save it for a later post!)

A few weeks ago on my daily walk I just happened to spot, well actually hear some sky activity. A couple of Bald Eagles, apparently cruising our neighborhood for prey or a nesting site (although it seems late in the year for that…

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my fault

Rara is an incredibly creative writer, author, and poet. She spreads love and wisdom with every blog-post. She also models being accountable for her thoughts, words, actions and attitudes. I encourage you to read her most recent poem, and to explore her blog.

Cigarette Butt Pickup!

Last Saturday, on a cold, windy, wet day, some members of the Pacific Northwest Litter Project held a cigarette butt pick-up work party in the International District of Seattle.

Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter in the world and they are more toxic than you might think. The filters are NOT made of cotton, they are made of cellulose acetate tow and they can take decades to degrade. Investigators in a San Diego State University study once discovered that if you put fathead minnows and a single cigarette butt in a liter of water, half of the fish will die.

We pick up the butts to keep them out of landfills, waterways, the stomachs of animals and birds, and away from plants and children. The butts are sent to TerraCycle where they are turned into plastic pallets. Since the summer of 2011, we have picked up almost 300,000 butts!

As the result of last Saturday’s two hour work party, 23 pounds of cigarette butts are on their way to TerraCycle.

The Pacific Northwest Litter Project is part of GreenFriends, the environmental arm of Amma’s Embracing the World.