Monday, March 1, 2010


Did you ever think that nothing that really matters can be possessed or controlled?  Like a sunset, the innocent smile of a baby, lacy snowflakes on windows, a masterpiece of a beautiful day, the waves on the ocean, rain on a roof top, another person, someone we love.

Yearning is related to joy.  C.S. Lewis defines joy as an 'unsatisfied desire that is more desireable than any other satisfaction.' You can look at it but you can't possess it.  You cannot possess another human being or a sunset. But for many of us 'yearning' is built into our satisfaction of life. Have you ever noticed when you get that which you have been desiring, you suddenly find a yearning for something else. We are never satisfied.  Things begin to dominate! But do these things really matter?

So there is the question - what really does matter? What really does matter to you?

I'll tell you what I do know.  The piles and piles of papers on my desk and the stacks of organized chaotic notes saved on backs of menus, paper towels, or scratch paper for some book in the future, a cold cup of coffee, and a pair or broken scissors mean nothing and matter not. 

What does matter is the velcro-backed well worn American flag handed to me by a soldier from his uniform home from Afghanistan, two small stuffed 'Beanies Babies' presented to me with great love by the mother of a bilateral amputee who lost his legs in Iraq, crystal paperweights (orbs I can get lost in) that hold the stacks in place and bring light and meaning to the mundane , a silver dog bone shaped book mark from a dear friend with a quote on it "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." Josh Billings, and a post card that I treasure with all that is in me of Ila Loetscher (1904-2000), The Turtle Lady of South Padre Island, TX (photo credit Evelyn Sizemore).  On my desk you will also find a note that says, "Mom, you are the best mom in Texas!  Thank you for always being there for me! Tara, Your Soldier" and a copy of Antoine De Saint-Exupery's, The Little Prince, and a heart-shaped rock from a stream in Colorado, and a stone with "Imagine" carved in it.  These things hold meaning and life and love.

An antique English wooden and brass letter holder that reminds me of a trip with my step dad to The Cotswalds and Shakepeare's home, a seashell from the Gulf of Mexico, Anne Morrow Lindberg's Gifts from the Sea, a rice bowl from two years in Korea, a framed needlepoint canvas of a special dog friend from my past, a canvas bag full of tiny inspirational books, a sand dollar, a malachite rock (the only thing remaining from my father,) and special photographs of sunsets and sunrises are all a part of who I am.  Memories, peaceful, precious memories of other places, faces, and lifetimes.

It is soothing and comforting to have them on my desk while I write.  They remind me of what is important to me, as well as what isn't.  They are things that remain and tie me to this earth, as they center and ground me.  They are memories, not possessions. I can touch them, feel them, and remember.  Ultimately,they will mean nothing to anyone else, but to me they represent a life well-lived, often complimented and strewn with great pain and deformities and anguish and the cry of regret and unimaginable joy.

So my answer to what are those things that truly matter to me is to face the truth, don't hold on to rage and fear.  Live this life, every minute of it - don't let it go and don't close your eyes to it. And love those you love - right or wrong with an open heart. 

For between the wish and the thing, life lies waiting!


"Life isn't about what you say yes to.  It is about what you say no to."
~Terry Hershey~

"If we could see the miracle of a single flower, our whole life would change."

"The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love and passion."
~Nadia Boulanger~ 


If you would like Patsy Swendson to speak to your church group, etc., please contact her at the above email address.

My name is Sina Teofilo and I am a contractor for the Texas Army National
Guard Yellow Ribbon Program and I just wanted to say that the staff and theoverall program is wonderful!! The first time I saw your organizationattend our event was last month in San Antonio at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.The feedback that we received on our surveys was overwhelming with commentson your organization and how great you all were with the service members and their families. I just wanted to say thank you to your staff because they were friendly and very informative. I hope you all know how helpful and
beneficial your program is. It is one of a kind and I hope that it
continues to grow and prosper. Thank you for all that you do.
Sina Teofilo
Yellow Ribbon Support Specialist
Contractor for Army National Guard

Please consider ordering  a book for a soldier. Enjoy the comments below.

You are right – we owe our warriors so, so much for all they do, and have done, for us. Thank you for your work with them.

Gloria Gilbert Stoga Founder/ Executive Director Puppies Behind Bars

New York, NY

Just got the book and love it. I will send you $500 for printing and $25 for books to distribute to my soldiers.

God bless.
Platoon Mom Elaine

I had seen some samples from the Pockets of Peace book and it looked great, but the actual book exceeded my expectations. It’s wonderful—no wonder it creates such a response in the combat vets!

--Beth Schietzelt
Soldiers’ Angels

“Pockets of Peace” is a beautiful and comforting booklet. Please let us know where we can get more copies. Bless you for all your work for veterans.


I read the pamphlet and agree that it is very beneficial for injured people.

Two important factors that contribute to a helper’s effectiveness are the

installation of hope and the reflection of a positive outcome. The book does both.
Jerome Tilles, MD

“What you do, does make a difference.”

Grace Blanchett – Fisher House – Volunteer Coordinator

“Patsy, the book is a marvel – too real and true! I treasure it and plan to use it at ICAF, too”.

Christina L. Lafferty, Ed.D.

Colonel, U.S. Air Force Reserve (Ret.)

Washington DC

Professor of Behavioral Science

Director of Research and Writing

“Congratulations on changing more lives.”

Nancy Stone


“I cannot begin to tell you how much I love your book”.

Patti Patton-Bader


Soldiers’ Angels

“I have raved about your book to many people to help spread the word. It should be used at every hospital or treatment center for PTSD troubled patients.”

Tom Criser Author – The Ghost in the Orange Closet

“I've been looking through Pockets of Peace. If that doesn't inspire someone, I can't imagine what would. Nice job.”

Harvey Eisen
National Capital Therapy Dogs
Bethesda, Maryland

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