art on your walls ii

chris at munch on & beyond with clearing i & ii 7 17

Christine with the clearing i & ii 36X12″ acrylic on canvas, 2014. $125 ea or $200 for both

Now showing at Munch on & Beyond!

Stop into this San Antonio plant-based, gluten-free eatery and your tummy will go all yummy!  Yesterday, delivering art, I tried Chris’s vegan lasagna and loved it.

Here you can grab and go, order to go in advance for a party, let’s say, or eat in (one small table that seats six or eight and some comfy sofas).  It’s serve yourself but easy-breezy. You’ll find simple decor, wi-fi, friendly conversation, a nifty, thrifty store on site and local art for sale!

Don’t forget your daily dose of Famous (freshly squeezed) Juice to boost your afternoon energy and to super-anti-oxidize your system, then bring your GLASS bottle back for a discount on your next juice!

If you’re a no-toxins-no-way kind of eater, then this is theeee place in San Antonio for you.

 

 

d. ellis phelps is the authr of Making Room for George (Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press, 2016) and of this blog.  All images are copyrighted unless otherwise noted.

 

 

 

 

If you like to read a book in one or two sittings…

george-review-clark-mitchell-kimbrough

double click the screen shot above for a larger, legible view

Making Room for George is the book for you.

 As I’ve explained in a previous post, I created a new edition of Making Room for George this year and I will soon be taking the first edition out of print.  Here I’m continuing with the capture of my 5 star reviews from Amazon so they’ll all be in one convenient place for readers since Amazon is unable to do this for me.

If you’re curious about why I moved my novel from it’s original publisher to the new one, you can read some of that story here.

changing-directions-matt-newman-ccimage used with permission of  Matt Newman via Creative Commons.  Rights reserved. 

 

If you like finding love in unexpected places, look no further.

on-a-rainy-day-hartwig-hkd-via-creative-commonsimage used with permission of Hartwig HKD via Creative Commons.  Rights reserved.  By the way, this is one of my favorite photographers on Flickr!

 

If you have ever cared for an aging loved one, you’ll understand all the conflicting emotions of this strong, female protagonist.

hands-of-87-years-cc-image-byimage used by permission of Gary H. Spielvogel via Creative Commons.  Rights reserved.

 

If you are a #formidableWoman with heart giving your all for your family, KUDOS!   You will really get this book (and muchisimos halos in heaven)!

salinas-grandes-nicaragua-cocinandos-via-cc-by-chiaraimage used with permission of the artist, Chiara via Creative Commons.  Rights reserved.

 

 

Free for kindle unlimited users; $.99 for kindle; $9.99 softcover

 

 

truth or dare: on the writing process, fact v.s. fiction & what’s next

 5 minute Q&A with the audience,Malvern’s Books, Austin, Aug. 11, 2016

  • This is fiction.  Right?
  • Will you write a sequel?
  • How long did it take you to write the book?
  • What are you working on now?

Do you have a question to ask that I didn’t answer here?  For example, if you have read Making Room for George, do you have a question about whether a particular part is fact or fiction?  Ask me.  I’ll tell…or…get the book now! 

It’s free with kindle unlimited.  Then come back and ask me.  You’ll want to.  I promise!

 

i wish you every gentleness

The Cloak Brandi Strickland

“The Cloak”  18X18″ Mixed Media Collage.  Image courtesy of the artist, Brandi Strickland.  Used with permission and gratitude.  All rights reserved.  Please visit Ms. Strickland’s website here to view more of her work.

Today is the thirtieth day of the season of non-violence–a sixty-four day block of time between Jan. 30 and Apirl 4 (the anniversaries of the assassinations of Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, respectively) which is set aside annually & was originated by Ghandi’s grandson.

Why designate a season of non-violence?  Of course, it is a celebration of the contribution these and other modern day public figures who have lived out their lives passionately, teaching the way of non-violence.  But most importantly,  it is one way to engage ourselves in a conversation about the power of gentleness.

I have never heard nor have I ever spoken these words:  Happy season of non-violence!  And though I think, Happy season of gentleness! evokes more of the resonance I personally want to create in the world, these are not words that have ever occurred to me to say.  Hmmmmmm….

There is a season in which everyone walks the streets wishing everyone else everywhere merriness and joy and P.E.A.C.E!  Culturally, however, we only give ourselves permission to show this much good will publicly for the thirty days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The rest of the time, we might say, “Have a nice day,” or “Be well,” but these phrases don’t carry quite the same message.  They don’t really speak to the practice of non-violence the way, say, May you know gentleness today, or I wish you every gentleness might.

I write about gentleness, confessing my own need for it, my own need to practice, practice, practice, confessing that I lapse into violent thought and sometimes (still) words and actions that come from habits deeply imbedded in my neuron-pathways from pre-birth.

I write to watch myself.  I write to know myself.  I write to change myself.  I write, hoping that what I have experienced will move others into their own way of being present to themselves and their own needs to watch, to know, to change.

What follows are excerpts from a talk I gave to women gathered for the Diocese of South Texas Episcopal Women’s Spring Gathering at Camp Capers in Waring, Texas, April 4, 2014.  I share it with you today, celebrating my own season of non-violence, celebrating how far I have come, celebrating my own willingness to carry on.

bend them with gentleness meme flickr

image:  meme by Brett Jordan.  Use with permission via Creative Commons.  Rights reserved.

Part I:  Why Am I Here?

 I started writing Making Room for George because I needed to tell the story of what was happening in my life.

But as I wrote, the writing morphed from a simple account of the events in my life into a journey itself–through my life’s history and choices– and as I wrote, it was much like taking an inventory, bearing witness, explaining, and grappling with the transformational journey I have been making from the person I used to be into the person I am.

After I finished the book, I realized that I would be speaking to people about the book.  I had to decide what it was I really wanted to say besides, “Buy my book.”  And as I asked for guidance and began to receive it, I had great resistance to the clear message that surfaced.  But it was so clear and so profound and it scared me so much that I knew this was what I was being called to do.

So this is what I have come here today to say:

The woman sitting next to you  in church every Sunday, well-dressed, intelligent, raising a straight-up child, holding a good job could be the very woman whose husband sitting beside her threatened her life and the life of her child the night before.

Statistics show that as many as one in every three of us has experienced some form of abuse by an intimate partner.

We must realize this is happening, maybe even to the woman sitting next to you right now.

We must talk about it openly.  We must hold the door of our hearts wide open so that disclosure can happen.   We must proactively educate ourselves and our children as to what constitutes a healthy relationship.  We must teach each other how to practice respect and gentleness.

peace is every step cover tich nhat hahnimage:  “Peace is Every Step” (Book cover) by Thich Naht Hanh.  From my suggested reading list & a favorite of mine.

We must tell the truth. We must heal this abuse. We must stand together, become formidable, and thrive toward a culture of gentleness.

Part II:  Why Doesn’t She Just Leave?

As an adult, I asked my mother why she didn’t just leave my father.  After all, she had a job.  This was her answer:  “Because he said he’d kill both of us if I did.”  So my mother risked her life and sacrificed her happiness to save our lives.

That’s valid.

As it turns out, this threat is a common one made by many perpetrators.  Sometimes, in spite of such a threat, women summon the courage to leave and succeed, finding new lives in other cities or carrying on where they are, but with restraining orders in place, finding that their spouse’s bullying behaviors subside once they realize she has finally, really left and isn’t coming back.  Sometimes, the perpetrator hunts them down and carries out the threat.

A woman who lived across the street from one of my friends in an affluent San Antonio neighborhood was being held hostage by her husband, locked inside and not allowed out alone. None of the neighbors suspected anything was wrong until her sister called one of them to say there was going to be an intervention

Sometimes a woman has children and no job and no idea how she would survive and care for her children, so she tells herself after every beating or insult that he didn’t really mean it and that he won’t do it again.  In fact, that’s what most perpetrators do say.  They experience and express real remorse, but somehow cannot keep their aggression from surfacing again and again.

Sometimes, the woman is well-educated and has an excellent job and could easily care for herself and her children financially, but she has been brainwashed into thinking that the whole mess is her fault and if she would only do this or that differently, he wouldn’t lose his temper the way he does.  So the woman jumps through hoops:  taking cooking classes; losing weight; changing her hair; never going out; clinging; not-clinging; and so on and on and on…

The other reason women stay is because they love this man and because they would rather stay and risk a broken arm than endure a broken life with a broken heart.  My mother loved my father until the day she died and I love my husband despite all of our difficulties.

what on earth am i here for flickr Cc

image:  “Good Question” by Bob Jagendorf. Used with permission via Creative Commons.  Rights reserved.

Part III:  You Can’t Get There From Here

Have I experienced violence at the hands of someone I love?  Yes.  I am one in three.  But why did I choose a man who slapped me to the ground and treated me with such disrespect and why didn’t I just leave him?

Einstein is quoted to have said:  “a problem cannot be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

I can speak most authentically to this point by telling my own story.

I cannot leave the place I inhabit unless I leave it consciously, by first identifying the energetic pattern-cause and then by practicing the vigilant work of choosing again and again a new way of inhabiting my world.

D. Ellis Phelps

In order to move on, I must embody a new energetic pattern.  Otherwise, I will simply find myself back in the same circumstance or with the same kind of partner who may be slightly more or less abusive because that’s the kind of energetic space my consciousness inhabits, because that’s what’s familiar, because that’s what I’m attracted to subconsciously.

So when I found my husband, what kind of energetic-pattern did I embody?  What were my deepest systems of belief?

From as early as I can remember, I learned that violence is a way of life.  That it is part of loving someone.  That it is the way to handle anger, disappointment, and frustration.

I watched my father become enraged with my mother, hit her, knock her down and bruise her.  I watched her cry and mourn and grieve and then I watched them reconcile and stay together for twenty-eight years.  I heard my mother say repeatedly that she loved my father, so I learned that this is how you behave when you love someone.

I learned that violence is funny.  I watched the Wylie Coyote and the Roadrunner do territorial battle on Saturday morning cartoons.  I watched the Roadrunner drop the big rock or anvil on the Coyote’s head and squash him.  And then I watched the Coyote spring back and do it all again and I watched this week after week along with many other cartoon characters who did the same things, smacking each other in the face with skillets and brooms and the like.

Implanted in those cartoons was the notion that these kinds of violent actions do not hurt, after all the Coyote never died.

And the same idea was implanted in my experience because though my mother was sad and I was frightened, no one died.  So I became accustomed to living in tension and because I didn’t know better; I couldn’t know better.

Love and Hate by Mai le via CC

image:  “Love and Hate” by Mai Le.  Used with permission via Creative Commons.

I agreed subconsciously with the idea that violent action, tension, and pain are all just part of the landscape of love.

My psyche studied the roles:  the aggressor rules; the victim submits; and the belief system:  when there’s been an attack, pass judgment, figure out who’s to blame, and punish them by attack.  This belief system implanted itself into every cell of my being, into my psyche, into my emotional blueprint, and therefore into every future relationship I would have, especially into the relationship I have with my own self.

I decided early on that to survive, I would be perfect.  And I vowed that no matter what, when I grew up, none of this would ever affect me.

I graduated high school, President of the Drama Club, Student Council Officer, in the top ten percent of my class, an outspoken, upstanding, virgin, non-drinking Christian who attended church beside my parents every Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon and Wednesday Prayer Meeting.  I looked like a young woman who was just fine.

When I got to college, I started drinking, having fun, and enjoying freedom–until I wasn’t having fun anymore.  Within four years, alcohol had released the rage within me to the degree that I had already blown through two serious relationships and I had become spiritually bankrupt, anorexic and suicidal.

So, I had left home, but I had failed to leave what I learned there behind.


Do you live in an emotional landscape, longing to be in a different place?  What ideas, patterns or habits might you need to relinquish in order to move on? 

Are you one of the one in three?  If so, call for help: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

I’ll be posting more of this story over the next few days.  Click the follow button to the right to get my updates in your email inbox.

d. ellis phelps is the author of Making Room for George, a love story.  Balboa Press, 2013.

#RRBC Interview with #IndieAuthor Mary C. Simmons: Part Two, City Mouse or Country Mouse?

Avatar Grove gnarly tree - full blend 1 - 1 Thomas Dawson pd 4 1 time use

image:  “Guardian of the Grove” Used with permission of the artist, Thomas Dawson.  See more of his STUNNING images here.  OMG!!  All rights reserved.  You can interact with this talented photographer more on FB here.

Thick and imposing, rich with humus and root, a lifting mist, palpable silence:  this image personifies wildness.  It is what I saw as I read about Wilder Island, a mythical place in Corvus RisingI can hear the Raven calling.

Since childhood, I have been drawn into the woods, playing in an Oak grove behind my grandmother’s house in Central Texas for hours, swinging from the trees on ropes, building tree houses out of sticks and grapevines or hiking with my grandfather in the East Texas Piney Woods, listening to the crush of pine needles underfoot, listening to him call the birds.

To this day, I fantasize a simple life:  a wooden bowl, a rudimentary shelter, a fire and solitude.  And reading Corvus Rising allowed me a few precious moments in such a life.  As I read, I wondered if the author felt the same, so I asked her:

D:  Have you ever lived in or wished to live in a forest or jungle? Where do you live now?

Mary:  Yes of course! Not a jungle though. Forest, yes. As a young girl I fantasized about living on an island with a black bird and a cat. And a rowboat so I could go into civilization when I needed food or other necessities. I reckon that was a huge inspiration for Corvus Rising!

I live in the North Fork Valley of the Gunnison River in Colorado, at the foot of the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains. Only about 5500 people live in this valley; it is very quiet—people complain about crickets…sheesh!

Mountain lions and bears stalk the streets of our towns (really), raising a stir, but strangely no one has tried to shoot them, strange, because this place has a goodly share of gun freaks.

Politically, we go from wingnut to wingnut here. Plenty of everyone. I like it that way.

D:  How do you think living environment— personally and ancestrally— influences who we are and how does this influence our relationship to the planet and other humans?

Mary:  I was born and grew up in New Mexico, as an adopted daughter of the desert—

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Both my parents were born in greener places (Mom in MN and Dad in NJ). They moved to NM in the late 1940s/early 50’s. My mother lived in Roswell during the ‘alien invasion’ of 1947.

Wilder Island in my book was inspired not only by my girlhood dreams, but by Nicolette Island on the Mississippi River, which cuts through Minneapolis. There is no other resemblance, however to this fine city. Minnesota calls to me sometimes, the green land of plentiful water, lots of fish. Hard to be hungry in a place like that—ghastly cold winters, though (Did you hear that MN closed schools last week? Never heard of them doing that before).

In New Mexico, white people are the minority(not by much)—but they are the dominant culture in terms of money and privilege. However, the influence of the Mexican and Indian cultures is prevalent everywhere, and it makes for a richness that is absent in other places where white people dominate the population as well.

I taught geology at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville for four years. Can we talk culture shock? Flattish land of cornfields and few rocks exposed—a nightmare for a geologist! No mountains…no green chilé, which is not only grown in New Mexico in great quantities, and the air is full of the aroma of roasting green chilé in the fall. I grew some chilé here in Colorado last summer. Not bad! It’s tasty, and hot enough.

Astounding humidity in Evansville, something that is hard for a woman of the desert to get used to. I spent summers in dry, mountainous New Mexico and Colorado.

Evansville is about 98% white. I missed the Mariachi music blaring out of open car windows.

I think growing up in the West had a profound effect on my life. Would I have loved rocks and mountains as much had I grown up in Minnesota or New Jersey?

Brooklyn Eagle by Gary H. Splelvogelimage: “Brooklyn Eagle” (composition) Used with permission of the artist, Gary H. Spielvogel. Via Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.

My son lives in Brooklyn now (he grew up in NM also). It is noisy and exciting, the city that never sleeps. It has no crows. I surmise this is true due to rat poison used by people to rid the buildings of rodents.

Crows would eat a dead rat long before they’d peck at an apple.

I have mule deer nibbling at everything in my yard and a flock of wild turkeys that stroll through every day or so, and I hear an owl in the early morning. My son never hears or sees any of that.

In New York, there is plenty of noise and art and coffee shops and theaters and all the great and awful things that humans do. We live at opposites ends of all that, my son and I.

I think being a Boomer probably had the most effect on my attitudes toward the Earth and the environment. The rights of the earth have been part of our collective unconscious ever since the late 1960’s, as is also true for civil rights and women’s rights.

What do you think about how living environment effects one’s attitudes toward or love of nature & other humans?  Tell me where you live and how you feel about it.  Post a link to a photo of your favorite spot on earth!

d. ellis phelps is the author of Making Room for George, Balboa Press, 2013.