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Old 12-22-2013, 10:27 AM   #4
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Default Daily Feast - December 24th - 31st

December 24 - Daily Feast

O Lord, on the eve of Your birth, may all things and all humanity bow their knees to the gifts You have given and are still giving. Nothing has ever compared to what is ours through Your giving. We ask one other gift, that those who suffer and those who are bitter and unforgiving will know how to get past the seeming irony of this time and claim their greatest gift. It is not meant to go to waste - not meant to be withheld. Better than diamonds, better than gold, better than high success, this gift of life is in the throes of change. Our privilege is to change with it, to know all the mysteries - not for the sake of mystery but for its purpose, to heal, to restore, to preserve.

~ I see before me men of age and of good judgment and consider well what they do. ~


'A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II' by Joyce Sequichie Hifler


Elder's Meditation of the Day - December 24

"Believing people can soar beyond ordinary life."

--Fools Crow, LAKOTA

We are created by God to be vision people. First we set the goal and then we see. If we create within ourselves a picture or vision and we hold that picture or vision in our mind, whatever we picture will show up in our reality. If we can see ourselves being educated, then schools and teachers will show up in our lives. If we picture in our mind a positive, spiritual person to be in our lives, we will attract this type of person in our relationships. How big can our dreams be?

Great Spirit, let my visions today be Your vision. Put within me a vision of the being you would have me be. Then help me to keep the vision in my mind.


By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Did you know that when we poke fun at someone else we're covering up our own embarrassment?

We all have shortcomings, peculiarities about ourselves that we take no pride in nor want others to know about. So, frequently we call attention to the "different" traits of others. Sometimes we believe they are not aware of their own problems, but they are. They are super conscious of them, and because of it they must escape though finding something about someone else they believe is worse than their own.

Truly wise persons are those who take their own unique qualities and build around them. Some of the most fascinating people are those who surround their unusual features with such exquisite mannerisms and beautifully developed personalities so handsomely as to make others ordinary.

It has been written by Augustine, "This is the very perfection of man, to find out his own imperfection."


December 25 - Daily Feast

If I could lay before you the dearest gift this morning, it would be a time of no beginning and no end. It would be life filled with good health and peace and inner joy that can only come from the Spirit. You would quietly refine your thoughts and words so that you never draw to you anything but the finest. You would rest deeply and breathe in sweet peace. You would know the tremendous difference between the material and the spiritual - turning from anger and frustration to a safe haven of love. You would always be the most loyal friend - not to me but to yourself. All the issues of life rise out of the heart - so this is a gift from heart to heart.

~ I have expressed my heart to you. I have nothing to take back. ~


'A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II' by Joyce Sequichie Hifler


Elder's Meditation of the Day - December 25

"When you see a new trail, or a footprint that you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing."

--Grandmother of Charles Eastman, SANTEE SIOUX

We never gain new knowledge or new experience unless we are willing to take risks. It's good to be curious. Also, it pays to be cautious. Walk in balance. The path of the Warrior is filled with opportunities to seek new knowledge. As we travel down the Red Road, we will run into trails of opportunity. Down each of these trails are experiences from which we will learn. Experience plus action is the beginning of knowledge."

Great Spirit, help me to make good choices in choosing only the trails You would have me take.


By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

There's a song that says " ain't necessarily so," and it certainly isn't! How often we accept someone's casual remarks as fact. Even appearances can be misleading. But, knowing this, we still have a tendency to take a thread and build a yard cloth.

It makes all the difference in the world what we believe. To simply accept an opinion, even our own when hastily formed indicates a lack of sound thought.

We sometimes have the failing of believing everything we hear. But it is far wiser to know with certainty, the facts about a teaching by looking at its followers.

The eyes and ears of our hearts and spirits are often more accurate in determining right from wrong than we can expect from normal hearing and seeing. However blessed we are to have our faculties, we are still in dire need of that sixth sense known as common sense.

Only the very foolish can close their eyes to truth and accept without question the many issues of life that face us daily. Surely we must form opinions and carry on, but we need those who have the ability to think clearly and truthfully. All else is merely opinion.


December 26 - Daily Feast
Early winter mornings have a special quality, a clarity where long thin shadows and ice crystals in emerald and topaz lie on the grasses. With the exception of a chortling blue jay there is little noise - as though everything bedded down last night and it reluctant to come out. A red tail hawk in search of breakfast rides the air currents far overhead where it can spot anything moving. It is strange that nature pays so little attention to what we think is beautiful in their domain - but it is equally strange that we are so oblivious to the supernatural that waits on us to recognize it.
~ The Great Spirit is our fathers, but the earth is our mother. She nourishes us, and what we put into the ground, she returns to us. ~
'A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II' by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Elder's Meditation of the Day - December 26
"The way of knowledge is like our old way of hunting. You begin with a mere trail -- a footprint. If you follow that faithfully, it may lead you to a clearer train - a track - a road. Later on there will be many tracks, crossing and diverging one from the other. Then you must be careful, for success lies in the choice of the right road."
--Many Lightenings Eastman, SANTEE SIOUX
An entire apple tree is initially contained in the seed. Visions are initially contained in the idea. If you trace the path of a blooming flower backwards, it goes from the blooming flower back to a bud, back to a stem, back to a seed. So it is in the way of knowledge. Often we will experience a hunch or a feeling that we are supposed to do something. At first it may not make any sense. This is the seed stage. Once we start to investigate, more gets revealed. As more is revealed, the more knowledge we get. This is the way the Great Spirit guides us.
Great Spirit, help me to choose the right choices.
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

All things in sequence, first the bud and then the flower. We can no more hold back the blossom than we can the daylight. It is inevitably there, beautifully delicate and subject to crushing. Only through very careful tending will it withstand the winds and rain and pressures of the outside.
Sequence is the order of human life. God intended us to unfold as the flower: first the seed in the fertile soil, the birth, the growth, the learning, the discoveries, the knowledge, the desires, the fulfillment as each phase of life follows its own sequence. We hold back the flowering of life only if we want it to be nonexistent, for it must progress. And in some of the most tender spots progression must be slow, easy, and reverently handled, for it can be as fragile as the flower.
There is within us a delicacy of thought which entwines itself throughout our beings, crossing from phase to phase, creating within us conflicts not easily understood. Something out of sequence in one phase may postpone the flowering of another phase. The very roots of our souls must be watered with reverence to successfully follow the sequence of life. If no other human understands or cares to understand, if we do, then continue - first the bud and then the flower.
Of all the intricate and complicated creations in the world, humanity occupies the first place. Our lives are made up of such flexuous combination of body, soul, and spirit that we do not even understand ourselves.
We all desire to know what makes us tick and how to go about making ourselves tick better. Whether we realize it or not, we are in search of the truth of our own being. Why are we here? What step should we take next? One problem after another, question after question brings us to this place again and again.
They are our personal problems and the wisest of persons cannot give us the answers. We will always need help to encourage us in our search but we must go within ourselves to cure, to live, to feel, to believe.
We must win our own hearts before we can find happiness with others. We must know what we want and be willing to share it with others, for it is written that life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindnesses win and preserve the heart.
English divine John Mason wrote these words, "By these things examine thyself. By whose rules am I acting; in whose name; in whose strength; in whose glory? What faith, humility, self-denial and love of God and to man have there been in all my actions?"

December 27 - Daily Feast
See with the bright light of your heart, and don't turn eyes to the dark. It is there, but don't make eye contact or it will follow you home. Turn away from the sludgy, dirty, dark blue-black that makes up most of what we hear and see. Don't think you have to take it in because you have to work to live - and to work you must take on some of the cheetah's spots. When sad eyes and performance voices turn to you and tell you that you must accept what is wrong, that you must have compassion, ask, "For what?" If someone want to go to hell in a hand basket, there's not much you can do - but never be guilty of telling that person he can't help himself. The Great Spirit never made him that way.
~ I have been in a great many councils, but I'm no wiser. ~
'A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II' by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Elder's Meditation of the Day - December 27
"When temptation comes, I don't say, `Yes," and I don't say, `No.' I say, `Later,' I just keep walking the Red Road-down the middle. When you're in the middle, you don't go to either extreme. You allow both sides to exist."
--Dr. A. C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA
We need to practice controlling our focus. Whatever we focus on we become. We also become whatever we practice. We need to focus on balance. Whenever something comes along to tilt us off balance, we need to be grateful, because it allows the opportunity to practice our focus. Sometimes this is called temptation. Temptation in itself is not bad. What really counts is what we do with it when it happens. We need to practice controlling our focus and keeping our thinking focused on the Red Road.
Great Spirit, today, guide me through my temptations and allow me to focus on the Red Road.
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Are you one of those people who degrades yourself in idle conversation until it becomes a fact within your mind? Has it become your belief that this is true humility, talking down your abilities, hiding your light, refusing to accept your rights as a child of God as being meek and humble?
This thing called life is given to us for a purpose, never to downgrade; no more than we should blow it out of proportion by thinking too highly of ourselves.
Each life is important, each breath for a purpose, each moment a time for learning. Walt Whitman has written in Leaves of Grass: "Whoever you are! Motion and reflection are especially for you; the divine ship sails the divine sea for you. Whoever you are! You are he or she for whom the earth is solid and liquid, you are he or she for whom the sun and moon hang in the sky, for none more than you are the present and the past. For none more than you is immortality."
By our words we reveal our minds. It is so easy to refuse to be a channel through which the best can reveal itself. And it is so easy to forget that our song of life, as Whitman has written. "The song is to the singer, and comes back most to him. I swear the earth shall surely be completely to him or her who shall be complete!"
Human beings worry a great deal about what others think. It is a nagging worry that somehow the curtain that protects our privacy from the eyes of the world will suddenly drop and allow us to see all the things our pride has hidden.
Why is it that we seemingly need to be clever in order to handle the world? Why can't we just live honestly and openly, without scheming and trying to appear that we are something we are not? The world is so heavy laden with priggish pride that the clean simple truth is lost in playing it cool. Why can't we quit being something pent up inside and be something like sunshine or showers right out here where we can enjoy it or get over it?
Socrates said that the shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we would appear to be. And we may just as well, because of there isn't a good cake under all that frosting, someone is going to know it anyway. To drop all pretense and say with genuine honesty, "This is the way I am" would be to find a whole new way of enjoying the simplicity of being ourselves.

December 28 - Daily Feast
A very long time ago, among the pages of words written by ancient men is a phrase so potent it still works today. It says, "Call the things that be not as though they were." So life is hard and scary and you have messed up miserably. Then change it by saying what you do want - by calling into being the way you want things and circumstances to be. Your words have power. They create. They shape. They call into being what you want. You have been digging in your heels and declaring that nothing can be saved. Don't you know you are doing it? Cancel everything negative you have ever said - be truly sorry for it. And then take hold of your tongue and demand it speak right.
~ You propose to give us land where we can live in quiet. I accept your proposal. ~
'A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II' by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Elder's Meditation of the Day - December 28
"I believe that being a medicine man, more than anything else, is a state of mind, a way of looking at and understanding this earth, a sense of what it is all about."
--Lame Deer, LAKOTA
The Medicine Wheel explains different ways of looking at the world. The four directions are the East, the South, the West and the North. In the East is the view of the eagle - the eagle flies high and sees the earth from that point of view. The South is the direction of the mouse. Moving on the earth, the mouse will not see what the eagle sees. Both the eagle and the mouse see the truth. The West is the direction of the bear - the bear will see different from the mouse and the eagle. From the North comes the point of view of the bison. To be a Medicine Man you must journey through all points of view and develop the mind to see the interconnectedness of all four directions. This takes time, patience and an open mind. Eventually, you understand there is only love.
Great Spirit, today, allow my mind to stay open.
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Is there ever a perfect time? A wise mother says there isn't. She advises us to take life by the hand and march right into the middle, and then start digging out the corners. She says not to wait for a perfect time to do anything, because a perfect time never quite makes it. We simply have to go ahead and make it as near perfect as possible.
A perfectionist is usually someone who can never find the perfect way, and gives up in futility. But the one who aims at perfection and does not wait for it, is at least moving and there's nothing useless about that. Unless we are moving, we resemble Tennyson's description: "Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null, dead perfection; no more."
We have to face life, not under the pressure of perfection, but by pure faith. We have to go on accepting and rejecting as we come to each phase.
"For perfection does not exist," said eighteenth century writer Alfred de Musset. "To understand it is the triumph of human intelligence; to expect to possess it is the most dangerous kind of madness."
In the rush of too much to do, we stack up for ourselves things we are going to do, things we ought to do, and things we intend to do. We do first the things of necessity, we take time to think a little about what we ought to do, and the rest is left to good intentions.
Frequently the good intentions hold the key to our happiness. While we bog down in the necessities of living, the things that mean so much slip away unnoticed.
We always expect other people to know that we intended to do this or that, but we must realize that they cannot read our good intentions. Good intentions have the same look as nothing at all. And we have to draw our own conclusions as to what our thoughts and feelings are. Only if we express them can we ever hope for others to know what we would like to do, even though circumstances may hinder us.
It has been written that intelligent beings have what it takes to surpass themselves. By sensible thought we can actively express our good intentions and this opens the way for fulfillment.

December 29 - Daily Feast
Never turn your good successful idea into an organization and set up councils and committees to run it. If you do, you will lose the common touch and the organization will turn to catchy phrases and initials that identify it. Committees will spend their time having lunch and talking about promotion rather than quality. People lose sight of quality and service as they try to squeeze out more hours, more money, more product that no longer is what it once was. Watch out for titles and power and wretched little people who want recognition with as little work as possible. Come down off of it. Do good service, make a good product that is not chicken soup from chemical flavorings. Do everything with the motto, "I can be trusted." It will amaze you what it can do.
~ General Howard said, "Shut up! The law says you go on the reservation to live, and I want you to do so. ~
'A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II' by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Elder's Meditation of the Day - December 29
"What you see with your eyes shut is what counts."
--Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Another whole world opens up when we close our eyes and calm our mind. Be still and know; be still and hear; be still and see; be still and feel. Inside every person is a still, small voice. Sometime it is necessary to close our eyes to shut down our perception in order to see. Try this occasionally; when you are talking to your child or spouse, close your eyes and listen to them. Listen to the tone of their voice; listen to their excitement; listen to their pain-listen.
Great Spirit, today, let me hear only what really counts.
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Realizing that there is a multitude of wonderful things to appreciate, we must shake them all together in our minds and wait for the chosen one to rise to the top like bubbles. Life is such a challenge, such a joy to live when it is appreciated. If we could only realize who gave us life, we would understand even more why the Creator intended us to appreciate and love all that is about us.
The thing we can appreciate are never in any particular order, but mingled together as they are in our lives. We can so beautifully and joyfully appreciate the sound of our children's laughter when sudden happiness overtakes them; the tremendous and moving power of silent prayer; a strong voice singing a song of inspiration, or of sentiment; early morning sunrises, misty pink and fresh; a mockingbird singing out its heart in the depth of night; the touch of souls in understanding; violin music; and our children in prayer, in spells of delight, or in any other moment.
To name them all would be an impossibility, to live them all is a blessing. We must not pass these things by without appreciating them. We must not lose them by failing to give thanks. These are the things we always have near us, and we can appreciate them merely by attuning our senses to them.

December 30 - Daily Feast
We move now toward a new year. It gives reason to think who we are and what we are about. Do we reach eagerly toward the future or does it frighten us with its weapons and voices and anger? Think long and hard about this, for it reveals your state of existence. A person cannot go on thinking "someday" and change anything. But to say that this day is the day to make changes and to bring one's own personal spirit into alignment, that is an accomplishment. Some feel they are not good enough to be any different. But what they don't realize is that making the effort to change makes them good enough. A person can't get there until he takes an action.
~ Some of our people have gone from here in order that they may have a change. ~
'A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II' by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Elder's Meditation of the Day - December 30
"Always remember that the Great Mystery is good; evil can come only from ourselves!"
--Grandmother of Charles Eastman. SANTEE SIOUX
The Great Mystery is love, good and principle. He is a guiding Father. He doesn't play games. He knows only how to love. Sometimes, when things go wrong, we blame Him or others. Usually, if we are honest, we can see how decisions or things done in the past put us in a position to be hurt. It comes back to us. When this happens, it is not something the Creator caused, but something we, ourselves caused. Most of our problems are of our own making. When this happens, we should correct what we've done, ask the Great Spirit for forgiveness and pray for guidance in the future.
My Creator, bless me with Your good.
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Henry David Thoreau, whose cry was "Simplify! Simplify!" went to great measures to prove to himself, and perhaps to society, that life could be lived in the most simple manner and at the least expense. With only a few dollars he managed to provide for himself the things of absolute necessity for quite a long period of time.
Not many of us would care to exist on the absolute necessities. We have become too much accustomed to easier living. Things that were once thought of as luxuries are now considered necessities. And yet, with all of this, life is anything but simple. We seem to have the ability to complicate the best laid plans and find ourselves shadow boxing.
Like many of the trite old adages, "Life is what we make it," is so true. By our own minds we accept or reject, by ignoring or by searching out the causes of shadows and removing the cause. It is whatever we elect to do about our individual lives that makes the difference. But we shall make great strides when we recognize the supreme excellence in all things of simplicity.
We don't need to worry about doing without the necessary things in life - if we have a grateful heart. A grateful heart is not just remembering to write a few words to someone who has done a kindness, or saying thank you graciously and at the right moment. A grateful heart is the feeling of great blessings which precedes that thank you note and that verbal expression.
A grateful heart is one that always knows the fullness of that rich feeling of first being grateful without cause. And then, all other gratitude and its expression comes naturally.
Perhaps true gratitude is a grateful though toward heaven that I should be chosen to fill this spot, do this work, and have been given the strength to do it.
It was Romaine, the English theologian, who said, "Gratitude to God makes even a temporal blessing a taste of heaven." We can have so much more heaven with a grateful heart.

December 31 - Daily Feast
A feast is a huge banquet of wonderful foods and wonderful friends to share it. It is a time when people honor people - and many memories are laid aside for this celebration. But another kind of feast is in the heart - at the core where life is decided. It is the human way to believe himself victim of many things, and he starves at his center. He worries excessively about who will take care of him and who will feed him and if he will survive at all. Never start a day without gratitude - without an inner singing of "Praise God from whom all blessings flow!" Never start a day being sour and hard to get along with. Never talk trouble nor give credence to those who do. Never give another person reason to be unhappy..... And remember, this is your day. This is a day of celebrating new life and purpose.
~ On the other side of the river there is plenty of buffalo. When we are poor we will tell you. ~
'A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II' by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Elder's Meditation of the Day - December 31
"They must give themselves to Wakan' Tanka and live a spiritual life. They will have the peace that frees them from fear."
--Frank Fools Crow, LAKOTA
There are two wills available for us: self will and God's will. Our choice is: figure it out ourselves, or have the Creator involved in our lives. If we are honest with ourselves and look at past experiences, what are our lives like when we try to figure it out ourselves? Is there fear, confusion, frustration, anger, attacking others, conflict, fault finding, manipulation, teasing others, belittling others or devaluation? If these things are present, they indicate that we are choosing self will. What is it like if we turn our will over to the Creator? What are the results if we ask the Great Spirit to guide our life? Examples are: freedom, choices, consequences, love forgiveness, helping others, happiness, joy, solutions, and peace. Which will I choose today, self will or God's will?
Creator, I know what my choice is. I want You to direct my life. I want You to direct my thinking. You are the Grandfather. You know what I need even before I do. Today I ask You to tell me what I can do for You today. Tell me in a way I can understand and I will be happy to do it.
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Today I hear the laughter of children at play. Their voices filled the air almost like chimes. And I felt their arms about my neck and their sticky kisses on my face. How blessed I am! Today I heard a mockingbird trilling out every single song it every heard from its winged friends. I closed my eyes and in the trees I heard all the voices I've heard since childhood, and it took me through all the happy, breathless, precious times I loved so much.
Today I heard my mother's voice calling to me happily. It was a good, strong, healthy voice that has called to me courage, and hope and peace, and shall continue to call down many lanes to me.
Today I heard my child's voice. I heard her singing, I heard her praying, I heard her laughing and talking. I heard her teasing and moving from place to place in all the activities I love to see her in.
Now, even more than ever I realize how grateful I am that God has given me the excellent faculty of hearing. I shall with all diligence try to hear nothing evil, but only love and peace which is my heritage.
"No matter what you have done up to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day." --Brian Tracy
AA gives us an opportunity to recreate ourselves, with God's help, one day at a time. --Rufus K.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
God says that each of us is worth loving.
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