A Pause for the Fourth Sunday of Advent: LOVE.

“Love is at once an affirmation and a transcendence of who we are”

–Esther Perel

My favorite four-letter word is LOVE. My least favorite four-letter word is Fear. The interesting thing about Love and Fear is their inability to co-exist. Needless to say, Love is invited to every important event of my life’s transformation. Often, I get to attend a meet and greet with Fear; however, always, Love is joyfully, peacefully waiting my arrival beyond Fear’s intrusive confrontation. Hope moves me from Fear to the alternative pathway toward Love’s stomping grounds. I say farewell to Fear and hello to Love. All is well. All is possible. Love is present. Thank you, God.

Love came down at Christmas: a child was born. We were born from the Possibility that created us. We were born from the Source of Goodness and Love and, eventually, to that Source, we will return. In the meantime, we get to learn what love is, how to love, where to find it, grow it, learn it. We yearn for God, for the Good, Love, and Possibility that created us.  We want to accept ourselves and for others to accept how we show up in the world.  We want to be loved and to love as a lifelong quest to be at one with God. We spend our mortality searching for the truth of that Love, for who and whose we are, our purpose, and mission. The universal truth of Love is calling us to our highest Self, our Oneness, our heaven: OM.

Jesus was my first real teacher about love. From my earliest recollections as a child, the Christmas story, the birth of a baby in a manger, was the story that inspired my lifelong love affair/ immersion into Christmas. The birth of God in human form as fully divine and  utterly human  inspired me to want to know that holy child. Jesus was the relationship master that grew me from childhood to adulthood, my ever-present friend, the great love of my life, the witness to all my becomings, my teacher, example, redeemer. I prayed to be like Jesus. He was my everything, the model that taught me how to hope into the peace that inspired love and brought great joy.

As I grew older, I witnessed a similar experience of Love with the births and lives of two incredible sons. These baby boys have grown to adulthood, married women they cherish, and given birth to children and other possibilities that bring great love to their lives and to mine. I’ve witnessed love that permeates incarnation’s farewell with the deaths of some very dear friends and beloved family while witnessing their sacred journeys home to God. I’ve savored love in the arms of my husband, frolicked through adventures with the animals we’ve called family, and treasured  interesting and magical adventures with dear friends and family, with whom I’ve shared life’s experiences. My life’s defining moments are those directed by Love.

My Christology has transformed from my prayers to Jesus every morning and evening to a transcending edicts, rules, and prescriptions kind of theological, Christological belief construct.  Jesus is still my best friend; however, my theology and Christology have changed because I have changed what I believe–in fact, I choose transcendence beyond belief to the realm where Love guides, nurtures, and rules. I don’t have to understand or explain it as I continue to change into what Love created me to be. I choose Love, and I choose God. Who Jesus is and what he means to my experience of God are part of my ongoing learning about Love, Life and God. I love the celebration of Christmas because it is the occasion that has taught me most about the birth of Love.

In previous blogs, I’ve shared stories about Grandma Ray and how she walked her walk and taught me about God’s love; the breath of love found in the pause between inhalation and exhalation; and the grace that is grasped in holding Love at the center of vision and intention.

This Advent, I give thanks for Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. I feel grateful for the kindness, patience, and wonder  this anticipatory season brings for the promised arrival of new beginnings and  miracles. Awe and magnificence herald my wonder for this winter season where Love is born.   Collectively we are blessed to celebrate Love’s arrival in concordance with Hope, Peace, and Joy–no exclusion due to sexuality, creed, religion, politics, or race.

Thank you, God, for Love.
Merry Christmas!

Love, Carol




JOY!  Advent Week Three

“The Joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

I love this scripture. Twila Paris has a song about it, and I remember singing and dancing to it at contemporary worship services. Joy always assures me that good, love, and possibility are ever present, and I get to celebrate them. I believe spirit, congruence, vision, intention, and choice aid me in choosing the hope that allows me to connect with God and pray for peace/resolution to any sadness, obstacle to grace or discordance I experience. Joy surprisingly shows up within or because of those prayers, and my heart overflows with gratitude. Thus, and so…and so it is. An amen, perhaps?

Joy is the fullest expression of a life fully-embraced. Not to be confused with “happiness”, Joy gifts different opportunities: Presence. Wholeness. Atonement. Grace. A knowingness that all is well and all will be well, no matter what….and” Isn’t that wonderful?!—Wow!” Joy can not be randomly chosen, it must be sought, lost, and found. It is a gracious gift that surprises, delights, and takes advantage of adventures into unknown spaces. I sat before our Christmas tree, (our first Christmas tree in our new home) and felt overcome with joy—it welled up from deep inside me, beyond words, music, description. Joy often enters my heart that way.

When I’ve dealt with sad and tragic adventures in my life, the assurance that God and Joy were on the other side of my fears, pains, longings, and grief were the hopeful sustenance that carried my hope and courage. Kahil Gibran, in one of my favorite books, The Prophet, reminds me that joy and sorrow are bedmates—when sadness is present in my life, joy is waiting to make her grand entrance! My life has known much sadness. I am grateful for the gift sadness has brought to my being because it created infinite room for Joy—to show up, prosper, bless and nurture.

The joy of the Lord is my strength.

In past blogs, I’ve written about my friends, Nancy and Jane. Nancy is my dear, close friend who always lives from Joy and Blessings. She focuses on the Joy part of life and inspires me greatly. She is truly a joy and blessing in my life. My friend, Jane, always signs her letters and e-mails, “EnJoy, Jane.” I asked her about it, and she said she did that signature because it reminded her to choose joy. She told me she believed it to be the highest vibration for inspirational living. Her sculpture, “Luna’ is a symbol for joy at her home in Virginia.

I’ve written about the joy present in the pause of the breath. Our breath can create joy when we choose to breathe it into our awareness.

My favorite Joy pause was about my brother, David Charles Hohlfelder, and the joy he brought to the world because of the presence he embraced with his joy-filled spirit. His son, Samuel, turns 24 today. Sam’s Dad would be so joyful witnessing the joy and possibilities that grow within his now grown baby boy. Happy Birthday, Sam!


Life is arbitrary. What we grow into and who we become are what we seek. With grace, good, love, and possibility, we can grow into the JOY we were created to witness, embrace, and gift to our world.

The Joy of the Lord is my Strength.



A Pause for PEACE: Advent Week Two

My Pause this week is for and about Peace, beyond understanding, perfect in its emanation, transformational with its presence. Just as many claim Hope as the highest vibration for possibility on the planet; to me, Peace is the pinnacle vibration for congruence and balance, the ultimate expression of Yoga, and the greatest invitation to Love. Peace is the highest aspiration of my being. In the struggles, obstacles, even battles of my life, the profound resolution of realized Peace is the presence of the Holy Spirit as incarnate within the ethers of my soul. My vision for the world I’ve held for the last decade is where Peace and Love are intended by and for all creation. And the vision of Peace and Love begins with me. When I choose Peace, I choose Love. I am called to embrace all of the ups and downs that I gather when I choose such ideals. My life often experiences the antithesis of what I choose to embrace even as I nest into who and whose I am, and what I seek to create and experience with this precious life I’ve been gifted. Those moments are when I learn the miraculous and challenging intricacies of Peace.

The second Sunday of Advent, we light a candle for Peace. While we wait with expectation for the miracle of Christ energy to be born, we often fail to fully acknowledge the transformational power of holding the anticipatory Peace reverently and sacredly within our beingness . The holidays are especially conducive to an imbalance of doingness to beingness, forgetting the reasons for the season, frantic goings, circle racing, erasure of presence with the peace among us. A Peace centering prayer, a commitment to balance, patience, presence, forgiveness, compassion and grace, all make room for opening to the Peace place. I think of that Peace as a plain of possibility: great views, awe, wonder, gratitude, and pranayama that elevate my yoga to a place beyond you and me: the Oneness found in the “We” that is all in all and moves through the OM from which Peace is sourced.   In a recent yoga class, a favorite teacher reminded me that my exhale is another’s inhale and vice versa.  How I flow through life, how I choose to create balance and ease is how I manifest peace of being–for myself and with and for everyone around me.

When I’ve experienced imbalance, disease, grief, anger, loneliness, anger, hopeless feelings, and sadness, I know that the first step in my healing process is to pray for peace. When I do, I experience the entry of good, love, and possibility gracing me with hope. I grow gratitude, embrace hope, and acknowledge a higher power as the source of my hope and peace. Prayer is hope in action, a conscious choice to connect to a vision for life in this world.  Prayer brings me peace, eventually and always.

Relationships can be rocky, not always grounded in peace. My first blog about peace was about my tumultuous relationship with my Dad and how our shared desire for peace brought us together as dear friends before he died in 2002. Another Pause was about the peace found with the pause in the breath as an intention to inhale peace before choosing exhale anything that isn’t peace-filled, pausing for the peace present within the pause of each breath I inhale and exhale.

I’ve written about the Institute for World Peace and their ongoing peace prayer: “God bless you. I love you. Peace, be still.” Last year I wrote about Peace and breath prayers, peace through yoga, and peace and love as best friends joined in union with all that is good, loving, and possible.
Peace, beyond our understanding, is available when we reach for it, in hope, choosing our peace with a generous topping of grace, pausing to be present in the moment where God lives as we breathe into Peace, and give thanks for our vision as if it already is.
Thank you, God, for Peace and Love intended by and for all creation.  Amen.

OM shanti, shanti, shanti OM.




Week One: Advent 2019

‘For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with HOPE”. (Jeremiah 29:11)

brown book page
Photo by Wendy van Zyl on

Advent is upon us—the four weeks before Christmas, the Christian celebration of Jesus’ birth. Advent, “before the event”, the expectation of a transforming event, a tomorrow beginning today. Our time waiting for this blessed event is filled with our expectations of that transformation: We look for hope, peace, joy, and love in our anticipation of a new paradigm, a vision of the world, our lives, and our spirits overflowing with the birth of possibility. Advent is a season where the preview, the birth, the body, the life, death, and resurrection of Christ inspire HOPE. Hope is a conscious choice to connect to possibility., Hope is prayer. Hope is an opportunity to dream goodness, love, and openness into infinite possibilities of being. Hope is possibly the highest vibration in the universe because it brings us to congruence, vision, intention, and miracles.
In August 2010, I began my transplant adventure with stem cells from an unknown donor. The night I was infused with my stem cells, I received a card from my donor with the scripture from Jeremiah 29:11, written above. So many friends, neighbors, loved ones, and strangers were praying for my well-being, and this donor, whose cells were blessing me with the hope for a healthy life was also inspiring hope beyond life in this world. The spiritual connection hope brings is eternal and promoted in me courage, confidence, and the ability to address whatever I experienced during my transplant adventure with grace. I knew all was well and all would be well no matter what because I had the gift of HOPE.
I’ve written blogs/pauses about hope for 3 years: the first, I used my mother as an example with her six-year breast cancer journey. The second was about the pause in the breath where hope is created, the Kombucha of pranayama. Last year, I wrote about hope as inspired by Idina Menzel’s song about Hope, the bird without wings who soared in the sky.

This year I write about the Hope all of us share when we choose to trust God and be open to what can be. The hope our divine souls yearn to create in this broken world: The hope of a new born baby. The hope that comes from visioning what is good, loving, and possible in/for/ how/what we imagine to create living in this world. The compassion that is birthed through acceptance and knowing that we don’t know it all alone and that we need each other. The bridge that is created when we give up being right and choose hope as our companion for meeting on a peaceful vista, where hope, love, peace, and possibility connect the dots and bring us home to ourselves.

This week, I pause for HOPE. Thank you, God.

A Pause for Thanksgiving


A Pause for Thanksgiving

For sixty years I have loved Thanksgiving. From my earliest recall, it was an “Over the river and through the woods” magical trek to Grandma Ray’s house for a traditional feast/gathering with family. To this day, mention the fourth Thursday of November, and I picture 318 North Second Street, Monmouth, IL—my beloved grandmother’s home, the table set with her china, crystal, and sterling; the smells, tastes, sounds,laughter, and awe that surrounded a family communed together for Thanksgiving.

The most holy remembrance I own from gatherings with my grandma, great aunt Marie, and my entire birth family was my memory of our prayers at the table. We thanked God for the abundance, blessing, harvest, and graces of our lives, as well as the “thank you” that stood first and foremost for me: gratitude for the love in our family.

When I married Gerry, moved away, and grew our family, my traditions for Thanksgiving day changed. Grandma Ray moved to a smaller home and no longer hosted Thanksgiving. When I was pregnant with our older son in Michigan, family travelled to us, and we ate at a restaurant. My father-in-law loved to host Thanksgiving, and Gerry loved the holiday almost as much as I did. Our first years as parents with young children, we traveled to LaPorte to celebrate the day with Gerry’s dad. Regardless of where we were or who we were with, gratitude for the love of family, our abundance, the harvest, blessings, and graces of our lives were the collective thanksgiving at the table.

Over the years, we settled into our homes and full lives, our children grew, and we inherited the large dining room table of the Roth family. With the stewardship of that table, we hosted Thanksgiving in our home with the living family members who could join us, and those who were with us in spirit. Always, our thank you prayers were to God for family, our abundance, the harvest, our blessings and the graces of our lives. Of course, we were thankful for the food, but it was for the inspiration and nourishment of time together at the table for which I gave my heart-felt “Thank You Gods!”

Except for Super Sister, our birth families are no longer physically present with us; however, when we gather around our Thanksgiving table, they are with us in heart, spirit, and the memories of prayers of gratitude we’ve shared together.

I imagine as I celebrate my sixtieth Thanksgiving tomorrow, my prayers will be gratitude for family, abundance, the year’s harvest, and for grace. My thanks will be to the Source of good, love, and possibility that grows, supports and sustains me, creator of mountains, rivers and fields that eternally grow me into who I endeavor to become.

Thanksgiving is an event I can choose to practice every day. TGIF=Today Gratitude Is First! May I remember to greet the morning, live each day, and preface sleep at night with an attitude of gratitude.

I journal my prayers every day. The current journal I’m using I purchased in France on my bucket list trip last spring. The cover of the journal is below.

Translation is subjective, depending upon the translator. The translation that spoke to me first and foremost was…

“Just a single word has launched for me many wonderful adventures.”

Today, I choose that word to be gratitude.

Thank you for reading my pauses these past years. Thank you for your support of my writing. Thank you for being present in this world and making it a better place.

With gratitude, I give thanks for you and your families, abundance, the harvests, blessings and graces in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!



A Pause for Relationship with Time


I don’t know where this year has gone.  Since last year at this time, my life has been a response to what has knocked at my door, opened my windows, stopped the clock or started the stopwatch.  Time is my friend, it waits for no one, and sometimes it fades into the sunset or some mysterious cavern I don’t choose to explore.  

Time.  A Paradoxical Adventure.  I surmise that when I consciously choose to spend my time with an ideal, activity, or person, I feel present, focused, and fueled for utilizing energy in a causal manner.  When I give time, take time or focus on and beyond time—requiring full presence, attention, energy, talent, power, and passion– I become immersed in the relationships created in awakening moments that birth my best self to inspiration, connecting me to my greatest possibilities of becoming.  A consciously intentional relationship with time is a great aspiration for me, one I seldom realize on a regular basis.  When I get in the “flow” as I call it, time and relationship are one, infinite, beyond measurement or interpretation.  Life is.  I am one, and all is well with my soul.  

This pause is about creating relationship to time and to myself, what I’ve learned, and how this learning has been a blessing to me, especially this year.

Every year in June, the battery in my watch dies.  Time stands still until I go to the jeweler to get a new battery for another year.  Like clockwork, I’ve known my old Seiko will stop, and if I want it to work so I can measure time with it, I will replace the battery.  However, this year, my watch battery died in April.  Again, in July.  The jeweler told me this was irregular, but that they would give me a new battery free of charge because their batteries were guaranteed for a year.  He suggested my watch might be messing up because something was wrong with its mechanism to keep correct time, to keep track of time at all.

2018-2019 has mirrored my experience with my left wrist adorning companion.  Last fall we bought a new home.  Shortly before that purchase, in August, we chose a Florida condo as a second home to rent when we were back in Indiana and to enjoy when the weather was cold and gray in the Midwest.  We had a few health glitches to deal with (I think a “glitch” is kind of like replacing a battery in a watch that stops ticking.  Stops time for a while, and then settles into a new rhythmic tic.)  

We had a home to sell, another to remodel, and we were dipping our toes into the waters of retirement, growing our snowbird wings of flight and fancy out of no concerted rhyme or reason.  Our fall and winter were spent cleaning, moving, settling, replacing, renovating, planting, planning, discovering, and experimenting.  Interestingly enough, the time zones of our Florida condo and our Indiana homes differed by an hour, and with daylight savings time, we really were confused.

 We would set one of our automobile’s clocks on Indy time and the other car’s clock on central time.  Same, too, with our watches.  With our moves, every single time mechanism seemed to require batteries, repair, acknowledgement, or a reset.  Sometimes, we became confused about what time it was or where time went.  Keeping current with time was especially challenging when we traveled out of both time zones for a bucket list trip to France.

This spring we joined a new church.  We also attend a different kind of church when we’re in Florida.  I am a member of two distinctly different yoga studios.  We are meeting new people everywhere, and yet not fully involved, volunteered, committed or routine oriented anywhere because of the contextual constraints time places upon our relationships and memberships.

We spent the entire summer remodeling our new home in Indiana.  We hope when we return to Indiana from Florida in a few weeks, the remodel will be almost complete and the holidays, gatherings with family, friends, arrival to home base will be joyful, fun, and settling.  All is and will be wonderful, awesome, and spontaneous EXCEPT when the ways I am responding to our experiences of this time conflict with how I truly desire to prioritize my time.  My time for stillness, meditation, reflection and writing has been demoted to a timeframe due to “To Do” activity directing my timeline.  Choice determines relationship, and I have spent less time with myself this season of transition as I navigate the detours and turns creative experimenting can manifest.  I suppose it’s time to sit and savor the beauty of being, goodness, grace, and possibility.  Thank you, God.

A conscious choice of time congruently spent requires a relationship to self, values, and the questions:  Who am I?  What is my dharma?  How do I create my best self in this moment of time?  We are temporal beings doing the best we can at figuring out this humanity adventure we’ve been gifted in these bodies with which we’ve been given—the bodies that age, get weary, battered and broken; these bodies that serve as temples for our holy spirits and cradles for miraculous possibilities.  The time we live with these bodies isn’t really measured in the years we live. Life’s worth is found when we choose to be in relationship to how we spend our time, with whom we spend our time, and all of the choices we make in regard to the whole, what, where, and how of time’s experience.  We measure our lives via coffee spoons, activities, dates,” daze”, hours, minutes, and seconds (86,400 seconds we are rationed every day.) until we transcend measurement, judgment, perfection, competition, comparison, pressures, and “have to” edicts related to the when of life.  At the moment of transcendence, we flow with what is, into who we truly are.

The clock stops being the relevant witness to our unfolding, and we meld into congruent relationship with what is eternal and timeless, the holiness beyond time, the flow of beginning and beginning again…No batteries needed, the only reset buttons necessary:  gratitude and grace.

I accept my life is transitional, and yet, it’s not a race to beat the clock; nor is it about how much I can get done while I’m here.  When I remember to be still, to be grateful, to focus on intentional and congruent relationship with God, others and myself, I don’t need to know what time it is, because it’s always the right time with just enough time and not measured in or by time at all.

When I was first diagnosed with leukemia in 1998, my physical wrist watch stopped working and couldn’t be fixed.  I went through all kinds of personal time keepers—a cheap Timex and “wind it myself” family heirlooms, but for some reason, no watch would keep time while I was wearing it.  I learned to remove my focus on the questions of time and reserve my energy for the questions beyond time—most of which could not be definitively answered, and so promoted my affinity for infinite questioning.  

I am grateful to be dealing with the transitions I deal with instead of those I lived with over 20 years ago.  A reminder for me to be still and know that all is well and all will be well, no matter what the time.  Wherever I am, Good, Love, and Possibility are the keepers of age, time, witness and experience.  Thank you, God.




A Right Time for Everything



Eugene Peterson’s The Message has a great opening sentence for Ecclesiastes 3: 

  “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth.”

As we witness the onset of autumn, I reflect upon the seasons of life, the transitions I experience, and the constancy of those seasons as well as the transitions before, during, and after all pinnacle points of my becoming and creating.   My inspiration for this pause is the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, and the way that scripture plays out in my head and heart during every chapter of my life.  This pause is also inspired by my day to day experience with my #1 husband, my forever life witness for 40 years.

“A right time for birth and another for death,”

–“So, what makes something ‘right’?” I ask.  We are born and we will die.  Do I have a say in this process?  Post Life is defined as the dash between the birthdate and the death date on a gravestone.  The in-between is the big thing, the place I am gifted the time in this body to grow, create, experience, savor, accept and learn to love all that I choose in this body; only limited by the dash between the dates, a.k.a., TIME.  Did I choose to be born into this body?  Did I have a vision and intention before I incarnated?  Perhaps, questions for another time, a time that is “right” for inquiry and discernment; maybe not this pause, but the seed for another, perhaps?

“A right time to plant and another to reap,”

Fall is the time of harvest.  As I inhale deeply the smell of autumn’s settling into its time of glory, I am reminded that as a 60-year-old, I, too, am breathing into this new decade thing with rapid transitions and changing colors.  What I have planted in the early years of my life is now up for harvest.  I plant new seeds each springtime of every year.  Now is the time for awe, wonder, miracles, the crops to be brought in, a time to give thanks.

My husband and I were married in the spring years of our lives, our early 20s.  We were deeply in love and dreamed big dreams with passionate feelings about our every day and our tomorrows.  The world was our oyster.  We followed our dreams, birthed a family, created our identities together as the Roth family.  We worked hard to bring our best selves to our endeavors, hoping our energy would be rewarded for the highest good.  We hoped we could do our best to be our best for our sons and their futures, and that our lives could be abundant with good, love and possibility.

“A right time to kill and another to heal,”

Sometimes the things we believe are important, really aren’t.  Status, Fame, Wealth, Recognition…all of those things come and go.  When ego becomes paramount, it is time to subdue the wants and desires, to let them die and begin again.  Often, destruction, death, illness, loss bring some amazing lessons because they kill the weeds that threaten to consume us.  In our late thirties, the important things transitioned into the necessary things when I was diagnosed with leukemia.  My diagnosis impacted the Roth family:  marriage, sons, finances, values.  It was an ongoing tumultuous transition as we discerned what to kill and how to heal.

“A right time to destroy and another to construct,”

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”  The lyrics to this inspiring song often lead me to necessary losses.  If I find the time to create the peace I seek, I often need to destroy false hopes, assumptions, limiting beliefs in order to begin again, to construct a new context from which to operate, a new dream, a new vision.  Gerry and I have experienced  marital challenges during the transitions, peaks, and valleys of our marriage, especially prevalent during my 15 years with a leukemia diagnosis.  It was necessary to build new relationship visions frequently over the years to experience the peace I sought to experience in our relationship.

“A right time to cry and another to laugh,”

Time brings healing that requires tears, laughter, and blessing.  We get to embrace how life is often sad and at the same time, it’s often funny.  Moment to moment choices grace the times of change in our lives, every season.  Every place we go, we are invited to feel what we feel and reveal ourselves to those around us so we can share, heal and create lifelines for each other.  I live on the edge of tears and laughter.  I would never choose to maneuver my life any other way.

Ecclesiastes 3 continues in the same vein for its total of 22 verses.  I briefly thought about continuing with all of the right time stuff (particularly because I wanted to point out 7b:” A right time to shut up and another to speak up,”.). I like to be “right!”😉

 A bone of contention:  Yesterday, Gerry asked me a question to answer while he focused on his morning coffee and newspaper.  I answered his question, and then I proceeded to discuss and ask him a question. He replied, “I am busy and don’t have time to talk right now”.  Perhaps the autumn of our lives brings this kind of disregarding bluntness—Where did springtime go?  Seriously, the learning of our lives brings us recognition that there is a right time for everything, and we get to learn our methodology for addressing time and those with whom we share it as we age and grow.

The author of Ecclesiastes (Was it truly the wise king, Solomon, I wonder?) closes this chapter by telling us what we already know:  We will all die.  We don’t know for sure what happens when we die until we die.  There’s probably nothing better for us to do than to have a good time in whatever we choose to do.  We don’t know what we don’t know.  Sounds like…

A “right” time for everything.

Perfect timing?