Seeing Through The Eyes of the Heart

red-heart-love-eyes-wallpapers-1680x1050

We all have filters that affect the way we view different people, situations, and circumstances in life.

And, when the Universe sends me a message in multiple forms, I take it as a sign that it is something I need to pay attention to. And that is the case with the title of today’s blog.

Listening to the radio yesterday, I heard a song that caught my ear. The man was singing about two lovers and the lyrics went like this: “He didn’t see her through his eyes, he saw her through the eyes of his heart…”

I loved that line.

Our physical eyes are very related to our conditioned or filtered thoughts. You’ve heard the saying, “Seeing is believing.” But this is actually totally inaccurate. Instead, scientists have discovered that ‘Believing is seeing.” We only see what we believe we are seeing. Our conditioned thoughts filter and re-arrange what we see to fit our beliefs.

So if we want to see the world as it is, we can’t rely on our physical senses. They are much too distorted by our conditioned beliefs. Instead, we can learn to see through our heart. We can learn to see the world through feeling.

The Oglala Lakota Chief, Black Elk, said, “We can all see in the day, and this seeing is sacred for it represents the sight of that real world which we may have through the eye of the heart.”

This morning on Annette Rochelle Aben’s Attitude of Gratitude blog, I found the same message about looking through the eyes of the heart, and how different things appear.

So, I felt compelled to pass along that thought.

I recently found myself in a social situation where there was this perfect woman. She had the perfect body, blonde hair, straight shiny white teeth, fashionable clothes, the latest trendy shoes, and she exuded money and social perfection.  As any other woman would do, I felt intimidated and small next to her.

I don’t know about you, but I hate that feeling of inadequacy. I know it goes back to my childhood and being an outcast in school because of the religion forced on me,  but I fight it with every ounce of my being.

As soon as I could do so with appearing obvious, I slipped away and went home. Did I feel down? Heck, yes. Should I have? Heck, NO!

Because at the end of the day, our physical appearance is not the reality of who and what we are. The physical body will disintegrate into dust (or ashes in my case) and what remains is the heart and soul of the person.

I don’t know this woman on a personal level. I only judged her through my mind’s eye, not from my heart.

So, even though this powerful message was for me, since I am compelled to share it, I am to believe it may be for someone else as well.

We know who and what we are on the inside. And, when our earthly journey ends, that is what will remain. Perspective is everything.

Try looking through the eyes of the heart for just one day and see what a difference it makes.

Big Hugs and thank you for taking the time to read this message. I hope it inspires one person today!

Add heading (1)

 

Advertisements

The Bed

THE BED

BY JAN SIKES

 If you’ve read Flowers and Stone, you know that it was a big scene and turning point in the story when Rick (aka Luke) took me (aka Darlina) to his house in Brownwood for the first time.

One of the things I noticed right away was the bed. Made in the 1800s, its black and gold ornate metal frame caught my eye. He told me he had bought it at an antique store in the early sixties.

20180319_081028

The second thing I made note of was a holster hanging from the centermost point of the head frame with a pistol stuck in it and a leather sheath that held a bowie knife.

For Rick back then, these were simply standard every-day items. He played a street dance in Round Rock every year in celebration of Sam Bass, and he wore that gun belt, as did many others, to the event. Obviously, gun laws were quite different in the sixties and early seventies.

At any rate, after he was incarcerated, I often wondered what had happened to the bed and figured his parents sold it.

When he came home in 1985, one of the first things he found in his nephew’s house was the bed.

It had survived and remained in the family for all those years!

He promptly brought it home, gave it a new coat of paint, a new mattress, and it became OUR bed.

I still have it. Of course, it had several new mattresses over the years, but I sleep on it every night, and this is a tribute to The Bed.

I first knew love on this antique iron bed.

Indescribable heartbreak found me on this bed.

Young and dumb, I lost my way on this bed.

And then I lost the bed, but not my dreams.

It wasn’t until many long years later that the bed returned. Still pristine, still intact…waiting. How ironic that it had not disappeared.

So, over the years, I loved on the bed, laughed on the bed and soaked my pillow with tears on the bed.

It knew all our secrets, all our pain, all our dreams.

I remember one night I awoke in the early hours of the morning, to find Rick awake as well. I told him of a dream I had been immersed in, and as I related it, he interrupted and told me the ending. He had been dreaming the same dream. Bizarre? Well, yes, I suppose, but it happened.

And then Rick became ill. He no longer had enough strength to get back to the bedroom. A hospital bed sat in our living room, and our bed remained empty and untouched, for I would not leave him to go sleep in it.

The first night after he had passed, I slept in our bed, on his side of the bed. It has taken many years to adjust to sleeping alone in our bed, but now it is my comfort, my solace, my refuge and I still sleep on his side of the bed.

I wonder what will happen to it when I am gone. Will my children recognize its significance and preserve it, or will they sell it because it bears no meaning to them? Perhaps I should make my wishes known ahead of time. But, on the other hand, does it really matter what happens to it? I think not. It served its purpose for Rick and will serve me until I am gone. Perhaps I will get to leave this earth on our bed. Who knows?

At any rate, this is a tribute to an inanimate object that holds so much meaning and memories for me — THE BED.

20180319_081043

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonah – Part 10

Last week, when we left Jonah, he’d just faced a memory that both frightened and horrified him – his first kill. We left him exhausted on the sand and Tidus had dropped a leather pouch at his feet and ran after Jonah yelled at him. Let’s check back in and see what’s inside the pouch

leather-pouch-leather-bags

He pulled the strip of leather that held the pouch closed and peered inside. A lump filled his throat.

Wasting no time, he grabbed his clothes, shoved his legs into his pants and ran after Tidus. “Hey, Tidus. Come back. I’m sorry, kid. I didn’t mean to yell at you.”

He caught up to the boy when Tidus stopped and turned around. Tears streaked down Tidus’ face. “I’m sorry, Jonah. I only wanted to help.”

“I know. And you don’t have anything to apologize for. It’s me that’s being an ass. I just have so much going on in my head, and I all I want to do is go home. It’s obvious that ain’t gonna happen, but this?” Jonah dumped the contents of the pouch into his palm. “What am I supposed to do with these?”

Tidus shrugged and swiped his nose. “Plant ‘em.”

Jonah gestured at the tangled twisted landscape. “Where? Look at this.”

“We can clear a spot. It just takes a little work.”

“What are they?”

“Sunflower seeds.”

sunflowerseeds-406

“And this?” Jonah held up a triangular piece of black onyx outlined in bright red.

“It keeps away bad thoughts.”

“Hmm,” Jonah studied the shiny black triangle. “Guess I could sure use that.” He clapped Tidus on the shoulder. “Come back to camp with me and help me figure out a place to plant these seeds.” He funneled them back into the pouch and pulled the string.

Tidus grinned and fell into step beside Jonah. “Okay. I have lots of them growing on my side of the island. I wish I could take you there.”

“Me too, kid. Me too.”

His mind raced. Was this all part of his lesson? Instead of fighting the place he’d landed, maybe he needed to help turn it into something more pleasant. Would the simple act of planting Sunflowers help?

He glanced at Tidus. This kid was a mystery. As soon as he thought he had him figured out, he presented something new. What he wouldn’t give to see the other side of the island. Tidus made it sound like the Land of Milk and Honey.

Once they reached the clearing where Jonah’s hut sat, he stopped and scanned the area. “What about over there, Tidus?” He pointed to his right. “Would that be a good place to plant?”

Tidus studied the spot. “Too many rocks.” He turned in a semi-circle. “Maybe up there.” He indicated an area up a hill behind the hut.

“Whatever you say, kid. Do you have any tools we can use?”

“Yes. I can go get them and come back.” He hesitated. “That is, if they let me.”

Jonah ran his fingers through tangled hair. “I wish we knew who “they” were. I’d sure like to talk to them.”

Tidus shook his head. “That isn’t possible, Jonah.  They are everywhere.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. Are you telling me “they” aren’t human?”

“Well, sort of. It’s hard to explain.” Tidus turned. “I’m going to get tools and I’ll be back.”

“Okay, kid. I’ll be here.”

As soon as Tidus left, Jonah ducked inside the hut. His gaze landed on the open book and journal. Maybe he’d skip the exercises for now and just read the book. He flipped it shut and stacked the journal on top of it.

He stretched out and stared up at the grass roof. The memory that had sent him plunging into the water lingered. He reached into the pouch and pulled out the cool black stone. He noticed something about it he’d missed at first glance. A tiny hole at the top of the triangle streamed sunshine. He looked closer at the leather string holding the pouch closed. After he unthreaded it, he was not surprised to find that it fit perfectly around his neck.

He slid the black onyx onto the leather strip and tied it. Now, that ought to keep bad thoughts away. Could it be as simple as that?

The books he’d been reading talked about shifting old habits and perspectives, clearing out negative thinking to make room for positive. The next time he’d give it a try. Cancel, clear, delete, echoed in his head.

Courage

May you find the courage to follow your dreams.A New YearA Clean Slate

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. To me, they are only rules you make for yourself that you end up breaking, then feel bad because you weren’t able to stick with it.

Instead, I choose a word at the beginning of each year that is my theme or go-to for the year. For instance, last year, my word was “Believe.” Looking back over the year, it was amazing how many times that word got tested and/or validated. Here’s a synchronicity that pretty much blew my mind. Shortly after the beginning of 2017, I was at my daughter’s house and she said, “Mom, I got a Young Living order in and they sent me a free bottle of oil. Do you want it?”

She handed it to me and I had to smile. The name of the oil blend was – yep, you guessed it – “Believe.”

Believe

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, for the entire year of 2017, I put a drop of “Believe” on the bottom of my feet every morning.

I said all of that to say my word for 2018 is “Courage.”

I am attempting to find a publisher for a new series I am writing. I need Courage to pursue that and not give up. I need Courage to spread my writing wings, to write in a genre I’ve never attempted, Courage to try new things I’ve never before tried, Courage to step into my own personal power.

My power animal is the Puma or Cougar and they are the symbol of Courage or Bravery.

I have a feeling I will be calling on my power animal a lot through 2018.

I’d like to share with you the blurb I wrote for my new book, which is Book 1 of the White Rune Series – When Two Worlds Collide.

Caught between a strong mind and fragile heart, Rena Jett vows never to let anyone in. The horrific abuse she suffered as a child has left permanent scars. Jag Peters doesn’t realize anything is missing from his near perfect life until he almost collides with Rena on her candy apple red Harley.

Rena’s brother, protector and only friend, Sam Jett, died in Afghanistan. A final letter from Sam delivers a mysterious White Rune to her. Jag is able to see and communicate with Sam’s ghost creating a triangle of souls. And when life-threatening danger comes to call, the two join forces to save Rena.

Could it be possible for two worlds so completely opposite to find a common ground and perhaps even love or a happily-ever-after?

What do you think? Does this pique your interest and make you want to know more? Give me only honest opinions, please. 🙂

Of course, I hope to attract a publisher who is willing to take a gamble on me. In the meantime, I am working on the second book in the series where the White Rune gets passed to a soldier desperately in need of his own happily-ever-after.

winstonchurchill1-2x

 

Magic – A Holiday Story #3

Cabin_Snow

Frank Pyburn now knows he has rescued a young boy. But, why would such a young child be out by himself in this weather on Christmas Eve? But even more puzzling, what was that smell? 

 

“What in tarnation do you think you’re doing?” Frank gasped at the sight of the boy trying to light a crooked pipe. He jerked the contraption from the child. “You are way too young to be smoking, kid, and besides that, I don’t allow it in my house.”

Jasper’s bottom lip quivered. “I’m almost eleven, and that was my granddaddy’s pipe, Mister Frank. I just figured since I am all grown up now I needed to start learning how to smoke it like he did.”

Frank chuckled. “There’s plenty of time for that if you are damned and determined to do it, but now is not that time.” He clapped a hand on the boys shoulder, then emptied the contents of the pipe into the fireplace. “You hungry?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I’ll get you a nice bowl of stew, and then you’re going to tell me what you’re doing out on a night like this and where your family is.”

Jasper looked away. “Ain’t got no ma or pa anymore.”

Frank swallowed hard. “Just rest. I’ll be right back.”

Before he returned, Frank refilled his coffee cup and doused it good with bourbon. He set a tray on the floor beside the boy with stew, crackers, and milk, then plopped down in his easy chair.

Silence swirled around the old man and boy like gentle snowflakes. While curiosity nagged at him, Frank could be patient.

Finally, Jasper scooped up the last bite of stew and drank the milk. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and got to his feet. “You’ve been awful nice, Mr. Frank, but I have to get going. Maybe if you could just point me toward Hamilton Road, I won’t get lost again.”

Frank motioned for Jasper to sit. “You’re not going anywhere until you tell me everything.” He set his jaw. “And, I want every detail.”

Jasper sank onto the sofa. “Well, you see, Aunt Nellie tries her best, but she just can’t do it all. Me being the oldest, it seemed that I needed to be the one to make sure we got our Christmas luck.”

“Christmas luck?” Frank sipped his coffee.

“Sure.” Jasper ran a small hand through his red hair. “Don’t you know the story about the Christmas tree and good luck for the whole year?”

“Don’t reckon I do. Tell me.”

“Well, my pa always told me that for us to have good luck for the whole year, we had to cut down a sapling on Christmas Eve and bring it in the house. But, Ma and Pa are gone. They got killed last summer in an accident. I live with Aunt Nellie and her kids. And, we need a tree. So, I headed out after I finished my chores and got lost.”

Frank squinted. “I’m sorry about your ma and pa, Jasper. How did you fall off Magic?”

Jasper shrugged. “Don’t know exactly. I was so tired, and maybe I fell asleep. The next thing I know, I was here with you.”

“How did Magic get so smart?”

Jasper grinned. “My pa taught him to be a trick horse. You ought to see all the stuff he can do. He can shake hands and dance.”

“And,” Frank interrupted him, “Damned near talk.”

“That too. He’s a good horse. And, he’s the only thing I’ve got left.” His small voice trailed away.

“Where does Aunt Nellie live?” Frank asked.

“Over in Grover Valley.”

“I’m sure she’s worried to death about you. We need to let her know you’re okay.”

Frank reached for the black phone on a table.

“Won’t do no good to use that thing, Mr. Frank. We ain’t got one.” Jasper shuffled his feet on the rug. “I have to get our tree and get home. We need a whole lot of luck.”

Frank’s heart broke for the boy. Here was a child that should be warm and safe on Christmas eve, not out traipsing through the woods looking for a tree to bring much-needed good luck.

“Tell you what. Let me finish my coffee, and I’ll pull the old truck pulled around. We’ll get you a tree. But, then I’m taking you home.”

“Thank you, Mr. Frank.” Jasper’s eyes danced. “Thank you!”

“Want any more stew?”

“No, sir. I’m okay,” Jasper looked around the room. “Don’t you have any kids, Mr. Frank?”

“Yeah, sure. But, they’re all grown and living in the big city. I’ve got grandkids older than you. My wife, Emma, died three years ago, and now it’s just me.” He remembered how hard his daughters tried to convince him to leave the ranch and move to the city after Emma’s death. But, this was home and he wasn’t budging. They’d installed the phone for him and called now and then. But, they’re much too busy to mess with an old man. Most times, he only had the voices in his head to keep him company…that and the characters in Zane Grey’s books.

“You want to spend Christmas with us?” Jasper squinted one eye.

TO BE CONTINUED…..

boy and tree

 

The Convict and the Rose marked down!

online_3d_cover_theconvictandtherose  ON SALE! $0.99 ON AMAZON

The Convict and the Rose inspires hope and shows how ANYONE can turn a dark negative situation into a positive one. But more importantly, the story portrays a love that goes beyond earthly confines and proves how persistence and faith come with their own sweet reward.
Join Luke and Darlina as they continue their epic journey with love as their constant North Star and freedom as the driving force.

The Convict and the Rose has 27 Five Star Reviews! You can read them here.

Listen to The Convict and the Rose come to life with voice actors on RAVE WAVES SPOTLIGHT THEATER. 

The Convict and The Rose Book Trailer

I hope you will find this book interesting enough to invest 99 cents!

And, of course, I’d be honored if you will take the time to post a review once you’ ve read The Convict and the Rose.

Thank you for your awesome support! Thank you

Lesson in letting go!

I recently took a trip with my daughters and my best friend to a resort in the Texas Hill Country.

20170517_130440

That was us at the airport, all excited and looking forward to some relaxing girl time!

But, what I was not prepared for was to be totally cut off from the outside world. NO cell service and EXTREMELY limited internet. There was one bench situated by the office that if you sat on it, you could pick up spotty internet service. Wow!

I didn’t realize how dependent I’d become on staying connected. I have to admit I freaked out a little. I had an online board meeting I’d miss with the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, and I had blogs to keep up with and emails to answer, not to even mention Facebook and Twitter.

But, what could I do? We had paid our money and we were there in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Isolated, cut off and yet pampered. It took an entire day for me to finally get over the panic and let go. After all, what could I do?

So, by the second day, I was resigned to the situation and began to relax. Of course the massage and facials helped. 🙂

For me, it was a HUGE lesson in letting go and being in the moment. It is something I don’t do well, so THANK YOU, Escondida Resort for the lesson.  The time spent with my beautiful girls and my friend was time I’ll never get back again.

And, I have NO regrets!

#RRBC Springtime Book and Blog Block Party!

Welcome to the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB Springtime Book & Block Party!

This stop is being brought to you from Plano, Texas

What I’m giving away on this stop:

One (1) $5.00 Amazon Gift Card

One (1) $10.00 iTunes Gift Card

Two (2) Copies of Discovery – Poetry and Art eBook

Number of winners for this stop – Four (4)

For a Chance to win, please leave a comment on this post.

And, I’d be thrilled if you’d share it on Social Media.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to bring to you the Poetry and Art book, Discoveryin eBook format! 

First and foremost, I want to thank Jan Hawke for her hard work formatting the artwork and poems to convert to eBook. She did a phenomenal job. The clickable links in the Table of Contents take you directly to a specific poem or piece of artwork.

FrontCover_Discovery

This book is unique first of all because it was compiled by Rick Sikes during the fifteen years he was incarcerated in Leavenworth Prison. Secondly, the artwork that accompanies the poetry is what he called pen-and-ink drawings, which I have learned is technically called Pointillism – Artwork made up of millions of tiny dots.

A few bitter years into his imprisonment, Rick Sikes reached a pivotal turning point.

He made the decision to be, think, and act only in a positive manner. This poetry and art project was partially his means of doing just that.

What you’ll find between the covers of this book are expressions of raw emotion…Poems of deep sadness and loss, humorous musings, political wisdom, life observations and tender love from Rick, while Jan lends her own deeply personal poems at the end of the book to round it out.

This partial excerpt from the poem entitled “Discovery” is the first expression of that pivotal point in Rick’s life where he determined he was going to crawl up from the bottom and become a worthwhile human.

Discovery

Through life’s wilderness I wandered aimlessly seeking my way

Seldom looking up to see the light of day

Stumbling blindly, ‘til so weary, I could go no more

In total exhaustion I fell to the earthen floor

My eyes focused upon a wounded but lovely thing

Seemingly an angel felled with a broken wing

Said I, “Stranger, what will be your name?”

A voice spoke softly, “Yours, for our names are the same…”

                                                           RICK SIKES

 

4A_Rick_Art
One example of Rick’s Artwork

Comes the Dawn by Jan Sikes

After a while you learn the subtle difference

Between holding a hand and chaining a soul

You learn that love doesn’t mean leaning

And company doesn’t mean security

Eventually, you understand that kisses aren’t contracts

And presents aren’t promises

Then you start to accept your defeats

Head up and eyes open wide

With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child

And learn to build your roads on today

Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans

Futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight

After a while you learn that even sunshine

Burns you if you get too much

So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul

Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

And you learn that you can endure

That you really are strong

You truly do have worth

And you learn and learn

With each goodbye  –  you learn

I hope you’ll take a peek at the Trailer for Discovery. Click HERE!

I hope I’ve piqued your interest and that you’ll check out this new eBook version of Discovery

Once again, thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of this post.  Good luck on winning my giveaways!  I’ll see you at the next stop of this awesome BLOCK PARTY!

For More Stops on this RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB Book and Block Party, click HERE 

Order the eBook  Discovery HERE!

Follow Jan: WEBSITE       FACEBOOK        TWITTER       LINKEDIN       PINTEREST

Book Awards!

It’s that time of year when book awards are announced and I am thrilled beyond words that TWO of my books have received FIRST PLACE awards from the TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF AUTHORS! 

‘TIL DEATH DO US PART received a First Place Award in the Biography Fiction Category.

bigorgaphy fic                        

Til Death Do Us Part is the fourth and final book in my series of true stories about a Texas musician who was a pioneer in the outlaw music movement long before it had a name.

Blurb:  Veteran Texas musician, Luke Stone, has cheated death more times then he cares to remember. He’s been everything from a simple farm boy to a rowdy roughneck, a singing star to a convict and finally a husband and father whose goals consisted of building a home and raising a family…which he did.
Now, with a chance for a second music career, he knows the sand in his hourglass is running thin. His anchor in life and true love, Darlina, stands at his side determined to help make the dream a reality. But, his aging body is sabotaging every effort and the only thing that keeps him going is sheer will power and the love he has for Darlina.
When faced with being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Luke draws on every resource to continue to function and contribute to their home and to society.
This is a story of inspiration, endurance and most of all undying love. When Luke and Darlina face life-altering situations that would destroy a lesser man and woman, they draw on each other’s strength and determination to face them.
Will fate allow Luke to sing his last song?

DISCOVERY – POETRY AND ART BY RICK AND JAN SIKES received a FIRST PLACE award in the POETRY AND ART cagetory.

poetry_art               

I am SO proud of this award. When I decided to publish this book, people told me, “Poetry doesn’t sell.” But, I didn’t publish it to sell thousands of copies (although, of course I’d be thrilled about that). I published it because it is such an incredibly beautiful expression of a man’s heart and soul not only through words, but through art. And, I believe there are others struggling who can find encouragement and hope within the pages of this book.

When Rick Sikes found himself inside the walls of Leavenworth prison, with a long sentence ahead, he had some decisions to make. It took several years, but he finally made up his mind to think and act positive in a negative situation. He became determined to accomplish something worthwhile even though imprisoned. And, this book is just one of the things he completed. The artwork is what he called Pen and Ink drawings, but the technical description is Pointillism. Thousands of tiny dots made with a simple ink pen are what make up the art.

I hope you’ll take a look at all of my books. You can find them all on Amazon and on my website at http://www.jansikes.com

Please join me this evening for an interview on DEAR Texas radio, at 7 pm CST when I’ll talk about these books and more! Here is the link. DEAR Texas Blog Talk Radio

See you there!!

Follow Jan on Twitter    Facebook    Website    LinkedIn     Instagram     Pinterest

txauthors-logo

Four Book Banner