The Wednesday Word is: BELONG

“She’s a loser and trash because she lived in a rundown house on the wrong side of the road…” – but I played with them anyway.

They said, “She’ll never move off that road…” – but I traveled far.

They said, “You will always be a statistic because you came from uneducated people.” – but I studied anyway.

They said, “She’s kinda weird and quiet, but seems like a good kid.” – but I harnessed my creativity, and focus, and used it to write, and paint, and help people.

They said, “She is a fool!” – but I chased my crazy dreams, regardless.

They said, “She is crazy, you know…” – and she proved them right.

They said, “You are academically rusty and at age 35 and would will likely never graduate college now.” – but I persevered and graduated with a 3.0 and received my BLS at age 40.

They said, “You’re not likely succeed…” – but I continued to learn what I didn’t know, continued to grow, and defined my own success.

They said, “What the heck is she up to now?” – and I said, “Stand back and watch!”

I have wanted to give up on myself so many times. I have overlooked success and believed I was never going to amount to anything. Then, one day, I changed the narrative.

That narrative did not come easily or without wallowing. From the earliest memories I can recall longing to be accepted. I never felt like I mattered or was wanted or appreciated or cared for. I started caring for myself more than others seemed to care about me, and it helped, for a while. Yet loneliness and rejection lay upon me like a heavy, wet blanket. Something was missing, besides self-esteem. A sense of family, community, companionship.

As a kid, I would wander and explore, to escape what was happening at home. Gary and Jane Bushers became my surrogate parents when I was about five years old. I adopted them. They didn’t know that, then. I would hang out at their house until I was forced to go home. Over the years I lingered longer, eventually wearing them down. I stayed at their house in high school probably more than my own. Their kids, my friends, became my brother and sisters, and are, to this day. I appreciate that love more than they may ever know. Gary and Jane gave me guidance, love, compassion and care. I needed it. I longed for it. And, to this day, love them immensely for it. It’s that love I cling to on days like today when I do not feel I matter much.

I just wanted to belong.

I still do.

A Poem by N. Knople


Silent beads of essential life fall softly to the earth.

The hypnotic patter, awakening and caressing vibrations which comfort my soul.

As the rain intensifies, my energy, my soul remains tranquil – wanting to lie upon the grass and let the showers of our mother cleanse and baptize me anew. Not me, for the sake of me, my desire, my prayers, not solely for me, but for the forsaken ,and for all humanity – to be rid of disease and despair in this heavenly place…

To be removed of sin, sickness, and self-righteousness…judgments and injustices…trespass and torture…

How is it God the Divine creates such comfort and knows such peace, and how, oh how does the viral vital testament of humanity exist within it?

As the rain cascades and softens once more, drenching the earth, quenching all it touches, nurturing nature, I am in awe and ever aware, even the softness can turn to fervent, unpredictable calamity.

As the gentle rain sweeps midst gales, across the land in a fury of gusts and the velocity and volume of waters intensifies and shifts, becoming chaos within and beyond.

And now, what was so gentle and peaceful has become the loom of uncertainty, weaving the prayers for wellness and justice from nature’s thread and bead.

As quickly… quite suddenly, rather, the torrential downpour trickles…

The solitude appears in the storm and the earth we knew forever changed.

And no one noticed…

N. Knople


The Wednesday Word is: Frog

Frogs? Nora, have you lost your mind? That’s unlike the words you usually give us. Frogs???

I said the same thing after meditation this morning. And like any good writer, I did research. I looked up information on frogs and learned quite a bit.

Frogs represent so much in spirituality. It is a symbol of making a leap between your hopes and reality. This makes so much sense as I begin to record my lectures here at home that I was supposed to give in Vegas in a few weeks. (Darn you, COVID…) My hope was to give these lectures in front of my colleagues in person and get that experience. Instead, I am giving these lectures in my hometown to a small, selective audience, for whom I am grateful, and recording it for the Vegas conference. It will be wonderful and I have done it this way numerous times, but my hope is not my reality. Next year… next year I hope to make that leap a reality.

Not frogs, but turtles, were an animal which I always felt a kindred spirit connection to. Maybe because my dad hunted turtles and I always wanted to go with him to rescue them and help them escape. I learned in my research this morning frogs, like turtles, are similar in symbolic in meaning. If either show up on your path, and turtles have been in my path for YEARS, it means it is time for you to speak up and be heard. That makes a lot of sense, since recently I stepped out of my comfort zone and accepted appointments to not one, but two local boards, in hope of making a difference and speaking for portions of the population which I feel is often overlooked and largely unheard. I’m listening, God. I’m as ready as I am going to be to do your work. You have been molding me for this purpose my whole life.

Also, when frogs show up on your path it is about doing self-work, learning how to jump across the distance into reality, leaving old baggage behind. I think God needs me to do more practice of what I preach. Again, I am listening. It’s appropriate the frog symbolism would appear today, as a good friend of mine is asking me to proof her new self-help journals, which makes me have to do the work to give her appropriate feedback. Writing has been speaking to me a lot and God has been making me aware my niche in my work and my writing. I’m excited to know this purpose so clearly.

I also learned the frog is like the bat, the BAT? I loathe the bat, but after today I will learn to let go of that feeling. Frogs and bats are animal signs of renewal. So, I guess I am coming into anew. Letting go of the past completely, letting go of disappointment, fear, resentment and just loving and living my life from today and for the rest of my life. I have no idea how long my life will last, but I can feel God preparing me these last few weeks for something. After getting the frog symbol this morning it is clear my work is not done yet.

God sent me the symbol in my meditation this morning because God knew I would look into it. God doesn’t always send us signs which makes sense. God wants us to do the work, to understand it is not always going to be easy, but in the end, absolutely worth it. Meditate today and see what unusual signs and symbols you get. It might be the very thing we would overlook is the thing we need to pay attention to.

The Wednesday Word is: QUARANTINE

Remember when you were asked the hypothetical question: If you were stranded on a deserted island, who would you want to be stranded with? — who did you say? Does the answer still stand today? You all know why I am asking. Perhaps a self-imposed isolation sounds like a vacation right now. Maybe you’re imagining it now, as you read. However, does the appeal remain when you realize your spouse, children, parents, pets, are also isolated with you? #togetherathome

This word has been at the forefront of conversation over the last few months. Many turned it into a lifestyle, never wanting to leave the house again, ever. While this sounds humorous, it isn’t meant to. This virus is SCARY for a lot of people. Even daily routines change frequently, for a lot of people. That alone is difficult for people who do not do well with change.

It seems things are even more uncertain than they were four months ago. I would be the first person to say: “Keep hope. We cannot bear worry for what we don’t know. Let’s focus on what we do know.” But, I am right there with you, my friends. I am not sure I know what I know. The word around COVID-19 seems to circulate and change. The appearance of lack of consistency in planning, executing and preventing seems to change, but in all honesty, it hasn’t. These are unprecedented times. None of us have had to live with these exact circumstances, ever. Knowing how to help by being vigilant in hand washing, disinfecting, and also mask wearing and only going out when it is a necessity, for many, if not most. It’s difficult, but needed in order to push ahead of this virus, I believe. Yet, not everyone can adhere to every part of the aforementioned plan to help, for their own personal reasons, of which no one is obligated to divulge. Howevet, bearing transparency, as I type this, I am faced with difficult decisions as a business owner about what is best for my clients and myself. Our safety, security and health are paramount.

Some say they feel my state (Ohio) may be headed for another shutdown. If so, stay at home orders may be inevitable. Stay at home is not the same as quarantining, though many labeled it so. If a SAH order happens, I will do my part to ensure safety, security and health, first and foremost. Fortunately, for me and my clients, my business is operational online, as well as in person. That is not the case for so many. Many people are still unemployed and have been since March. Basic needs are being assessed on a daily basis, and well no money means staying home more. So for many, quarantine has become a lifestyle without option, already. Every person has dealt with or is still dealing with COVID-19 related stress. Think about that for a moment. Not one person is unaffected by the stress of COVID-19. Not. One. Remember that when people are making decisions about their daily living.

Deciding to wear a mask or not wear a mask is one source of stress for so many people. Do not assume you know why someone is or is not wearing a mask. If you see a person with a mask, refrain from judgment. Likewise, if you see someone without one. Imagine being alone in life. Having no one, not one person, who can shop for you, run errands, etc. Now, imagine you are exempt from wearing a mask because you have severe asthma. Imagine also, being at a higher risk for getting COVID-19 because you have asthma. Imagine how heavy that feels having to decide and calculate how long you feel it MIGHT be safe to be out and understanding there are no guarantees you will be safe, even if you shop during senior hours. Then, imagine going to the store to shop, being told you cannot because it is for seniors and those with health ailments, and because you do not have to disclose your having asthma and you are only 28 and look healthy, you can’t shop right now. THIS is what people are dealing with. Imagine how much more alone that person feels, on top of the stress and loneliness they already have.

Judgment is a kin to quarantine. When we place judgment on someone with or without knowing facts, we impose isolation and separation. There is far too much of that going on. The virus just made it appear more acceptable to shun people. It’s not ok. It’s NEVER ok.

When the powers that be made decisions for us and ordered stay at home orders, many people mistakenly called it quarantine. I can understand the mistake because they feel quite similar. With a stay at home order you can still have guests and practice social distancing. With quarantine no visitor policies are required. In all of it, we do have choices. With choices come consequences. If all you can do today is to not make a big decision, then that IS a decision. If all you can do today is decide to limit travel and focus on self-care, then that IS a decision.

Quarantine is not a place where most of you reading this are. Quarantine is something we do to reset and accept healing. Taking time for respite is a necessity. It should be among our basic needs. These are trying times for any of us. Let’s do our part to not make it any harder for anyone else than it already is.

Be well. <3

The Wednesday Word is: MASK

There are a few four-letter words which entice such passion. I am certain you can think of one or two. Never, not in my lifetime, did I think MASK would or could be one such word. It’s become an expletive to some people. It’s the elephant in the room. The thing no one wants to have a real discussion about… wait, isn’t that most EVERYTHING anymore? We have become a nation pissed off about our constitutional rights on everything. Even things which are not covered by the constitution are somehow now bearing one’s constitutional rights. I must have missed that lesson on the right to wear or not wear a mask in Mr. Denos’s Ohio History class at Norwalk Middle School or in Mr. Allen’s Government class at Norwalk High School. Perhaps that Bill or amendment was passed after 1989-1990. Certainly, if it was in the state Constitution, Mr. Denos would have covered it, or in the U.S. Constitution, Mr. Allen would have covered it.

I think people mistake personal rights for Constitutional rights. What is right for you is not right for all. I practice meditation, daily. I know a lot of people who would rather have their toenails ripped off one by one than to sit still for 30 minutes of meditation. Yet, many of the same people ask me what am I doing as of late to be so “chill”… I choose to meditate. It works for me. It is a personal choice. However, my right to meditate is a Constitutional right, though I do not always call upon the Divine in meditation practice, freedom of religion is covered in that much referenced First Amendment. Many people, especially as of late, have assumed a variety of interpretations of the First Amendment to match their desires to fit their rights and freedoms as U.S. citizens. Still, wearing or not wearing a mask, verbatim, is not covered in the U.S. Constitution. You can interpret the law however you want, it doesn’t make it so. If I get a ticket for drunk and disorderly, can I use the Constitution to get out of my charges now?

“The officer has no grounds to arrest me, your honor. I was intoxicated, yes. However, it was my right and freedom of religion, to consume wine, as it is communion and since I cannot get to church, I take communion at home. And disorderly, I was celebrating the Holy spirit…” Don’t get any ideas. I doubt it will fly.

Sure, as a writer, I can interpret scenarios to fit my needs and make my points. However, this doesn’t make what I write true or lawful, just because I say it is. So many people have used these last four months to become well-educated in constitutional law. They have no problem educating everyone on how right they are and how wrong you are. I’ve yet to have one such scholar cite the area of the constitution that covers mask wearing.

No one is taking away your rights by telling you to wear a mask. Wearing a mask protects others in the event you could be a carrier of COVID-19. If you feel your rights are infringed having to wear a mask, imagine how someone might feel if you choose not to. Your right to not wear a mask is more important than my right to health. Actual rights and personal preferences/choices are NOT the same things.

Here is the other thing: before judging someone for wearing or not wearing a mask, how about doing one more thing? Mind your business. I am not obligated to tell you why I wear a mask no more than you are obligated to tell me why you don’t. Certain people are exempt from wearing masks. Certain people feel safer wearing them. It’s not your business. Some people feel they are as ineffective as the soccer ball wearing one in the picture above. Others feel they are quite effective. Statistics show when we obliged the efforts to keep spikes low, we succeeded. But we all know statistics, like the Constitution, are open for interpretation.

Bottom line, make smart choices for yourselves. You cannot predict how your choices will affect someone else. Mind your business and be safe. But also, be kind. I won’t judge you for not wearing a mask, don’t judge me for choosing to.

Be well. Be kind. Be you.

The Wednesday Word is…

Sometimes a word comes easily. Sometimes I have to meditate on it longer, rest within it and let it be. Sometimes I pick a word and hope something insightful happens. Today, nothing. Not the word nothing, no words came to me to meditate upon, no message…

I thought about complacency.

I thought about injustice.

I thought about inhumanity.

I thought about my family.

I thought Jesus himself is probably shaking his head at how our world hasn’t changed much.

Then, I thought about nothing.

Eventually, the thoughts wafted away.

Nothing. Not quiet. Not words. Not stillness. Not clarity or tranquility.

Just. Nothing. In a way only nothing can be.

Nothing I thought seemed significant, yet quite significant at the same time.

Nothing I felt seemed significant, yet significant at the same time.

Words are just words.

What matters is when the dust settles,

and you’re alone with it the nothingness,

and you accept the nothingness,

and it quiets the storm within and beyond, for the slightest of a moment…

and you know alone isn’t lonely.

Alone let’s you know you.

Alone let’s you be ok with how you feel, what you feel or let’s you do none of it, and that is ok, too.

Without thought.

Without feelings.

Without judgment.

Just being.


And, it’s not nothing and I am not a nothing.

But this…this is everything.

In. This. Moment. Now.

And, for now, that’s all I need.

Experience nothing today.