To Journey (or not) into the Joy of Darkness

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

It’s been a strange couple of weeks, but then again, strange seems to be the new normal. Barely a minute goes by when the POTUS does not make some angry outcry or ignorant blunder. It’s so common, most of us barely bat an eye. Others rise up to toast hatred. Rage is infectious. For some strange reason, it’s now normal to be inhumane. Which begs the question, what are we striving for?

Last week, I posted a brief notice on Facebook in support of a teenager in town who is championing an environmental cause. She is seeking signatures to bring a petition to the legislature. And, like so many young and not-so-young environmental activists who are actively looking for ways to save our planet in crisis, her only M.O. is altruism. Imagine my surprise dismay when 9 out of 10 people who chose to comment, did so from a place of anger. When did altruism become a bad word?

Also last week: a senior in my children’s high school banged a teacher’s head against the cafeteria wall because he wasn’t happy with her, and three men armed with machine guns robbed a house in my town. My children are wondering if the world is going mad. They don’t know how lucky they are. Things like this aren’t normal around here. But, are they becoming normal?

A few weeks ago, school officials in neighboring towns came together for a common cause. Teachers are living in fear. Elementary school teachers. Children are acting out in anger and rage on a daily basis, and no one knows what to do. Yet, thousands of years ago, a group of people discovered that they could calm young and restless bodies and minds through the practice of yoga. The end result, peace. The answers are more ancient than time itself. Five minutes of silence everyday in inner city schools where crime and violence used to be the daily norm, have resulted in dramatic shifts towards harmony. Yet, many of us still resist the doorways within.

Two hours ago, I was wrapping up my walk with my dogs when I saw two of my neighbors across the street from my house. I thought I’d stop over to say “hello,” but on my way I followed their fingers to a stray dog hanging out in my front garden. After hurrying my agitated pets inside, I went back out to see what I could do.

The dog in question was a gentle spirit, and I was pretty sure I’d seen her on my walks before. As one neighbor pointed out, she had no identifying tags, so while she leaned into the other neighbor, I photographed her to post on FB. I was certain she’d soon be identified. She was a pure-bread, and someone had probably spent a pretty penny on her.

Seconds later, a car zoomed around the corner, and, suspecting the owner, we waved it over. Instead of relief and gratitude, we were confronted by an irate man filled with accusations and blame. Blame not for himself for losing his dog, but for the dog and its dog-nappers rescuers. Alter, my neighbor told me she was sure there was another dog in the car. I was certain there was also a child, in a carseat.

The entire scene played out in mere minutes, and all I could manage to do, as well as my neighbor (the other neighbor had gone home) was to try and help corral the dog as kindly as possible while her owner yelled and raged at it. It was distrubing at best. Yet, it also seems strangely like the new normal.

If you follow the POTUS and his army of supporters (which I try my best to avoid), all of the above will seem like mild day in the land of the good old USA. We are a nation gone mad. Or, were we always mad, but just did a better job hiding it?

Six or so years ago, I decided, or rather it was decided by some unseen muse, that I would write a book about six teens who would travel a labyrinth filled with darkness to bring back the light. Thinking they are on a mission to repair the light in Earth and heal the planet, each teen is faced with the discovery that the darkness inside the labyrinth in Earth is also inside of them.

The outer is a mirror of the inner. Always. We all know the saying, “peace begins within.” And, to get to that place of peace, we must travel the darkness within. We must face all of its ugly and fear-filled forms. We must confront it. Untangle it. And above all else, we must love it.

In one of my first yoga classes with preschoolers, there was a young girl who troubled me. She had blue eyes and stringy blond hair she’d often twist into knots with her fingers. She could be cute, but during my classes, she most often wore an ugly face twisted by inner turmoil. Some might say she looked possessed. And, in a way, she was. There was clearly something that was eating away at her happiness and ability to share joy with others in the class. And to find her own joy with the class. Sadly, she made it through one 6-week session, but never returned.

In some ways, I felt like I had failed her. I was not able to give her the individual time she probably needed, and was instead often looking for ways to ensure she wasn’t pestering her fellow classmates. I shared concern with her parents and teachers, and it seemed to be understood.

Even though she is no longer attending my yoga classes, I still see her in passing most weeks. She stands in line when I arrive, waiting to head outside for recess while some of her peers wait for me on the rug. Each time I see her, I make a point of catching her eye, as I do with all children who are waiting. And each time she catches mine, I smile at her.

In the first few weeks, after our time together had ended, my former student would look at me with the eyes of distrust. As though I was perhaps mocking her, or in some way had an intention other than kindness. I continued to look for her eyes and smile. About two weeks ago, amidst all this recent chaos, I caught those two blue eyes looking at me and my smile was met with a smile. A smile of trust and friendship.

I can’t say what this little girl’s demons are, or why she was more tormented by her darkness than some little kids are, but I do know it exists inside all of us, in various forms. We carry the fears of our own lives, and the lives we lived before this one. We carry the fears encoded into our DNA passed down to us in our genes, and we absorb the fears around us. We are solitary beings intricately connected with all life. When one of us is in pain, we all are.

I know that man who collected his wandering dog was acting out of his own deep seated fears, even though it presented itself outwardly as hostility. Our POTUS is doing the same thing. As well as his devoted followers. What troubles me is not their fear, but their unwillingness to travel inside of it. To follow their own labyrinths of darkness to find the light. A light that is filled with the core of love that feeds joy. What troubles me is that so many seem to be okay with, and even embrace, a life fueled by self-righteous anger and hostility, rather than choosing the path of darkness in search of their own light. Granted, it’s not an easy path to take, but unlike with anger and fear, we don’t walk it alone. The POTUS and his followers, and the many others around the world who are choosing hatred as their M.O., may think they are united in a cause, but there is no union with fear. There is only destruction, of the self and the community.

I think perhaps that little blue eyed girl with blond hair who used to take my yoga classes has already discovered this. Yoga may not be her M.O., but kindness now appears to be. I’ve noticed she not only smiles at me, but holds the hands of her classmates eagerly on her way out to recess. I image the fresh air and being close to nature is a balm for her, as it is for all of us. I embrace her choice to find joy in her chosen way.  And, more than anything else, I am happy in the knowing that she seems to know, in her five-year-old self, that joy is her birthright.

Entrance #writephoto #WIP

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Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

 

“Where am I?”

“Dear boy you are inside a crypt. Or, to be more precise, you are inside what once was a tomb. But, before it was that, it was something more.”

As Lupe’s eyes adjusted to the absence of sunlight, he realized the earth around him was glowing. He no longer felt fear, only awe. Tiny orbs of silvery gold speckled the ceiling and walls, and for a moment Lupe thought he was gazing up at the stars.

“They brought the above into the below, as you can see.”

“It’s so cool. But why? And what is it made of, a special paint?” Lupe reached out his fingers.

“Don’t touch it. Don’t touch anything unless I tell you to. You’re walking on sacred ground. Remember that. Those stars you see are made from pyrite and quartz. They’ve been there for thousands of yearsOn.”

Lupe let out a low whistle of air, “Geez, that’s kind of amazing.”

“Yes, it is, isn’t it? No other human now living, aside from you, knows about this place, as far as we know. They’ve found some of the others, but not this one.”

“What’s special about it? The dead bodies? You said this was a crypt, right?”

“Yes, and no, but you won’t see any bodies here. The tombs are still preserved. Untouched by man. We’d like to keep it that way.”

“Fine by me. I’d rather not trip over some dude’s femur if you know what I mean,” Lupe paused. “You said they are untouched by man. Do you men just men, or women too?” He wasn’t why he asked the question, but it suddenly seemed important.

“Ah, they did say you would be bright. I meant men. Women, you see, once held a place of honor. As the sacred bearers of life they were revered as holy beings. Only women  touched the bones that lie here. We are inside a woman’s chamber built to symbolize her womb. It is a place where only women walked.”

“Oh, wow! I thought you had said tomb,” Lupe felt his body fill with the weight of the truth. “Are you sure we should be here now? I mean you’re a ghost, so I suppose you are okay. But I’m a dude.”

“Dude?”

“It’s just an expression. You know, for a person. Anyway, why have you brought me here and not Aponi, Dell, or Sula? I mean, they’re, uh, women, or almost women.”

“Those must be the three females who have been chosen for other tasks. Your friends. Well, you see. There are rules that are now allowed to be broken. But, not just by anyone. You, alone, were chosen to come here, Lupe, because you have proven your love for Earth. Your roots are here, and it’s important that you are not female.”

Lupe felt the weight of these words sink into his mind. Have I really proven myself, though? he wondered.

“You have honored Her with your actions and the reverence you hold inside of your heart. You understand the need for balance, both of the inner and the outer, although you have not yet wholly discovered it. This is why you are allowed to enter this sacred place. There is no force striving to control within you. You do not seek to dominate, but to balance.”

“I see…” Lupe replied, even though he was not sure he did. He let his eyes wander back to the walls of the cave, “Why’d they paint the ceiling like this if it’s a graveyard. I mean, why go through all the work?”

“Ah, but it is not a graveyard, it is a place where life begins and moves on. Look closer at it, perhaps you will be able to figure out why.”

“Hey, is that the Milky Way?” Lupe pointed to a wavy band that held more densely packed crystals of light than its surroundings.”

“I believe that’s what you call it now.”

“Now? You mean it used to have another name?”

“Oh, it’s had several.”

“Like what?”

“The River of Creation. The Great Mother. Plumed Serpent…Your ancestors believed that it was the gateway to where the light of the individual souls are formed, and to where they returned after death.”

“Oh, you mean like the rainbow bridge?”

“Some called it such.”

“Well is it?”

“Is it what?”

“The place where we all come from and where we return when we die?”

“That is not for me to reveal. You are here to observe and discover for yourself. You are here to walk the path of darkness back into the light. Just as your friends are doing.”

Lupe felt himself weighed down by his ancestor’s words. He let his body fall against the cave wall then lower to the ground. Instead of landing on the floor, though, Lupe came to a seat upon a bench he had failed to notice before. It was not large, and appeared to be part of the rock itself. Jutting out about half a foot, the stone seat looked like it was a part of the wall and could comfortably hold three people, side-by-side.

“I see you found the waiting place.”

“Waiting place?”

“Yes. Where those who were chosen would wait to be called.”

“Called for what?”

“To do the work of the Great Mother.”

“But why would they wait here?”

“Because this is where they were tested. The initiates. Here, where the dead lie in wait to be reborn is where the chosen ones from the living come to birth their true selves. It is a place of power and of self-discovery. Some  found they were called here only to return to what they were doing before they came. Others awakened to gifts that had been hidden inside of them. Many healers, prophets, and seers emerged from here. Many Earth Keepers like yourself.”

Lupe felt a rush of energy descend from the crown of his head. The heat flowing inside of him ignited each of Lupe’ cells with a knowing that felt like truth.

“You are not so very surprised, are you?”

“No. I guess I’m not. I mean, somehow I’ve always known I was here, in this life, to help protect Earth. This place,” Lupe paused, “in a weird sort-of way, feels like home.”

“Well, my boy, it should. Come. Let me show you the rest.”

“There’s more?”

“There’s always more.”

 

This is a chapter from my WIP, book two of the Warriors of Light series. When I saw Sue’s photo for this week’s writing prompt I immediately thought of my characters, some of whom find themselves in similar looking places to what we see here. Lupe is one of them, a young teen tasked with a mission to repair the lines of light inside Earth and save the life of his friend’s mother. To participate in Sue’s #writephoto challenge this week, click here

The Paranormal Meets Warriors of Light

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My booth at the fair

It was a strange day, but I didn’t leave feeling defeated or discouraged. I had made $60. The booth fee for the paranormal convention table was $50. My net profit: $10. I didn’t sell one book, instead I sold some totem figurines, a few “Ghost-Be-Gone” sprays and a chakra pendant. Visitors trickled in throughout the day, but not many of the faces changed. Instead, most people were there there for the long-haul, having paid the ticket to see the lectures that were going on every hour or so.

I think I counted five people under the age of 21, but I may have missed one or two. I didn’t know what to expect, so there was really no reason to be disappointed.

Although I had never attended a ParaCon before, and probably looked a bit out of place sitting behind a booth without skulls or haunted baby dolls, I wasn’t entirely out of my element. I’ve done some ghost hunting in my days. I know what it’s like to be haunted. Heck, one of my main characters is a ghost, and that’s just in book one…but, it makes sense that most of the visitors that day were seeking the dark instead of the light. Or so it appeared on the surface.

There were those that stopped. The trio of teens who lingered in their black garb, flipping through the box of totem animals while eying my postcards and books until my friend in the booth beside me brashly announced, “I think you guys should read her book.”

“Really?” the tall one, who never made eye contact asked as he flipped over the cover?

“Yeah, especially you. I can tell you’re looking for answers. You’ll find them there.”

“It’s in Kindle,” I offered. “And it’s much a lot cheaper.”

“Oh really?” he sighed with relief as he took the postcard with all the information he needed.

Throughout the day I found myself wondering if I should lower my price. If I had, I probably would have sold 1 or 2 copies, but there would have been very little or no profit in return. The Indie writer’s world is not easy, and I am still figuring it out. I’ve written a book geared toward, but certainly not limited to, the younger generations. Kids and teens who rarely hold a book in their hands unless it is part of an assignment. A topic we joked about with the three teens who had lingered at my booth yesterday.

I am realizing how much I have ventured into the unknown, or rather, the undetermined. I am not discouraged, though. One seed planted is enough. And there were, perhaps, a couple planted yesterday. Three (not the teens mentioned above) signed up for my newsletter, a handful of others grabbed cards and postcards…maybe a few will go poking around on my website in a search for some answers. And, me, well, I’ll keep writing and venturing into the unknown when it beckons. I’ll welcome, as best as I can, whatever awaits.

I’m okay with that. It’s what I signed up for, after all.

Looking with New Eyes

Warning, this post contains some disturbing content. 

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What would you like to see on this sign? (photo source: Pixabay)

I was, I believe, about mid-way through my studies with the Silent Eye School of Consciousness. Driving in my car, as I so often do, down a road so familiar cellular memory could take over and I could lose myself in my thoughts. How many of us have been down these types of roads? Lost in our own musings and not paying mind to what is happening around us?

That day, though, I was paying attention. I was looking with new eyes at what had become so familiar that, I realized, I had become accustomed to it to the point of acceptance. I was jarred into a reality that I found acutely disturbing. I was looking at the facade of a convenience store. A sight not at all uncommon, which is why I was deeply disturbed. Posters defaced the windows, calling eyes to drink in the alcoholic beverages held inside. Mouths to draw in the cancerous smoke of the tobacco sticks sold behind the counter. Bellies to fill with the carbonation of liquid chemicals laced with artificial sugars. Defile your body and numb your mind, they called out to every onlooker: man, woman, and child.

This is my world, I thought. This is what we have chosen for our life, collectively. I was deeply disturbed. Yet, I had also come to accept this, at least partially, driving along the roads and barely noticing my surroundings. Even, sometimes, stopping inside these stores to purchase a beverage or snack to fill my hungry body. And what about my mind?

Last night, while watching an episode of “The Crown,” which I’ll admit has become a bit of an addiction, I fell into a similar state of disturbance. Once we make the conscious effort to open our eyes to our surroundings, we cannot help but see what is before us. “Hold her still,” the voice of the handler demanded, while a stallion did the deed of impregnating a mare. “Well done,” was the response after the deed was complete, as the satisfied parties left the scene.

I, though, was infuriated and saddened. What of the mare? “Hold her still.” “So,” I declared out loud, “they essentially force rape her.” And, everyone applauds a deed well done. Once again I found myself thinking, And this is the world I live in?

This morning, while going through my email, I found myself clicking through the daily dose of petitions in the hope to instill change. It’s always disturbing, the barrage of cruelty that meets the senses head-on. A macaw shot for fun, a comatose woman raped for pleasure (another rape), but it was the face of a young woman that pulled my eyes into the layers held behind the scene. Her grin, an artificial high of delight, as she held the dog she calls “Momma” with bloodied feet. A thrill-ride of violence. A young woman who had taken her scooter and dragged her pet behind her. “Mission accomplished,” her eyes spoke. “Look what I’ve done!”

And yet, I thought, why should we be surprised? Look at the billboards we feast our eyes on? They come in myriad form. Books filled with glorified rape and violence. Big screens bringing to life pillage, greed, lust and more gloried rape and violence. I have never enjoyed reading horror novels, nor have I ever enjoyed watching their counterparts on the screen, yet so many of us do.  Perhaps, in part, because we can say, “This is not happening to me.” But is it not?

Look around you. What is your world like. Are you okay with it?

When I sent my visionary fantasy novel, The Labyrinth, to a young beta reader, she asked me if anyone was going to die. She expected violence and even murder. Why not? It’s everywhere. Glorified. Accepted. Welcomed into our homes through media, news, and entertainment. What we create becomes our realities. That, in itself, deserves some thought.

 

Wanted: Middle Graders for Online Book Club #warriorsoflight #thelabyrinth #middlegradebookclub

Online Book Club for Middle Graders
Join the journey at https://warriorsoflight.club/ 

 

When I began writing The Labyrinth about six years ago, I had one central question in mind, “How can I help kids and teens live their truths without fear?” As a child who lived in fear of speaking her truths, I have experienced the physical and emotional effects of not living in alignment with your inner truths. I believe the greatest gift we can give our children is the gift of empowerment through unconditional love. When we open up to the realization that our children are here for their own unique purpose, and that it is our job as their caregivers to help honor and nurture their inner gifts, we allow them to bloom into the light of their true selves.

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The six main characters in The Labyrinth are young teens who are at that pivotal point in their lives when their sense of self is being developed. They are learning who they are and how they fit into the larger world around them. As each young warrior of light works through their fears and insecurities inside a magical labyrinth filled with light shadowed by darkness, they begin to unlock the gifts of their true selves. Realizing, in this journey of self-discovery, that they are not only powerful, but a necessary part of the web of light that connects all life.

Warriors of
The characters from the Warriors of Light series are featured as teen teachers of life on the site warriorsoflight.club 

The Labyrinth is available worldwide in print and Kindle formats, and I have developed a companion website for readers who seek to explore its themes for self-empowerment and personal growth. As I work to enhance and expand the teachings of the book series, I am looking for input and engagement from its targeted readership. I’d like to bring together a group of kids & teens between the ages of 10-14 who are interested in exploring life through The Labyrinth in an online book club. Over the course of 7 weeks, we’ll read and discuss the themes and passages from the book that have the greatest impact on them.

Empowering Youth Through The Labyrinth

Some of the topics that are explored in The Labyrinth include:

  • Intuitive guidance
  • Yoga, mindfulness & meditation
  • Working with crystals & stones
  • Animal & spirit guides
  • Energy balancing & protection
  • Overcoming fear
  • Finding & embracing one’s gifts

Our discussions will be used to help develop games, workshops and interactive tools, some of which will be hosted on the warriors of light club website, for kids and teens to explore freely.  In exchange, I will send participants a signed copy of the book, and a uniquely designed chakra pendant. Unfortunately I can only ship within the U.S. due to international shipping costs, but if there is a reader outside the U.S. who wishes to join the book club I’d be happy to reimburse the cost of the book ordered off of Amazon.

If you know a child or teen who might be interested in being a part of this online bookclub, which will be hosted via Zoom, please share this post with their caregivers. I’d like to begin soon after the New Year and hold the online gatherings on Sunday evenings around 7pm EST.

More about The Labyrinth & the Warriors of Light Club

About The Labyrinth:

Six young teens find themselves drawn inside a mysterious labyrinth. They have been told they are the chosen ones, tasked with a mission to repair the broken paths of light in the planet. A darkness, they discover, that is driven by a fear that is as much outside of them as it is inside of them. In order to save themselves and the planet, the young warriors must find the strengths of their inner gifts. Becoming, in the process, warriors of light bound together on a journey of discovery that will take them to hidden places in Earth and within themselves.

Reviews of The Labyrinth from readers: 

“This is a beautifully written book that can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates adventurers who work to improve themselves and their situations with courage and intelligence. As characters the youngsters show up well in the various situations they find themselves yet not without having to battle their personal demons. I enjoyed it that the violence was not out of proportion to the story, and that there wasn’t a lot of silly “teen age” behavior. Best of all, I felt was the interesting way the author presented nuggets of he Ancient Wisdom, those principles that guide us to our best selves. I can’t wait to see the next book!” — Tasha Halpert

“The Labyrinth is a beautiful metaphysical journey that will appeal to kids who like fantasy and magic. It has at its core an exploration of our relationship with the Earth, and how we each have a shadow side (our fears) that we must be willing to face in order to understand how we can heal ourselves and our planet. The language is beautiful and accessible, the characters diverse and engaging, and the story invites kids to ponder their place in the larger web of life, without being “preachy”… I deeply appreciate the author’s mission to help kids dive below the surface in an age where it’s easy to get lost in the technological and material world.” — Carol Goff

Warriors of Light.Club:

Warriorsoflight.club, a companion website for the book series, was created to provide children, teens, and their caregivers a free, accessible, and safe environment to explore a deeper awareness of self. A monthly newsletter is offered via the website for youth who seek a community where they feel accepted and honored for embracing their true, unique selves.

 

Alethea Kehas, MFA, RMT, RYT200, owner of Inner Truth Healing & Yoga, works with people of all ages to discover, heal, and realign with their inner truths. The Labyrinth is her second published book, and she is in the processing of writing book 2 of the Warriors of Light series. 

Your Gift of The Labyrinth this December will help support #theTrevorProject

Years ago, when I began the creation of my metaphysical fantasy series, Warriors of Light, I seeded the intention that I would give a portion of the sales to support causes that relate to the themes in the book.

The six main characters in the series are young teens who feel as though they do not quite fit into society. All of them struggle with their inner demons and at least one, with his sexuality.

I have decided that 50% of this month’s proceeds from book sales of The Labyrinth will go to The Trevor Project. The Trevor Fund supports LGBTQ youth who may be contemplating suicide. Even if you choose not to purchase a copy of The Labyrinth this December, perhaps you will consider a donation to The Trevor Project.

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To learn more about The Labyrinth and the Warriors of Light series, please visit my websites, aletheakehas.com and warriorsoflight.club. Warriorsoflight.club was designed for the young readers of the series who desire a deeper exploration of self, as well as a sense of community and belonging. Here you can sign up for a monthly newsletter, which will further explore the metaphysical themes from the series and provide a platform of interaction for the readers. 

Warriorsoflight.club

Introducing Warriorsoflight.club #newwebsite #empoweringyouth

Warriorsoflight.club
   A companion site of the Warriors of Light metaphysical fantasy series. 

I am pleased to announce the release of warriorsoflight.club, a companion site for the Warriors of Light metaphysical fantasy series I am writing. Those of you who have read book one, The Labyrinth, will recognize the characters Dell, Shesha, Sula, Lupe, Aponi and Ari, as well as a guest appearance from my personal favorite, Grandmother Crow, on the pages of the site.

Written from the character’s perspectives, the website offers a page for each of their focused teachings:

Aponi_Sketch

At “Intuition with Aponi,” visitors will discover the wisdom of the inner voice, and how it is always there, waiting to be heard.

 

 

 

Shesha takes readers on a journey through the chakras at “Shesha’s Energy Tips,” offering tips and exercises to liveShesha_Sketch a balanced, grounded, and connected life

 

 

GrandmotherCrow_FinalShadedGrandmother Crow makes a guest appearance as an interviewee as Ari’s spirit guide on his page “Spirit Helper’s with AriAri_Sketch

 

 

 

Dell_SketchWhile Dell explores the sometimes hidden realms and shares a few of her favorite “magical” photographs at “Dell’s Magical Realms.”

 

 

The power of the mind and living in the present moment is eco-warrior Lupe’s topic of choice on his Lupe_Sketchpage, “Mindful Living with Lupe.”

 

 

Sula_SketchAnd, Sula, the reader, shares her favorite (and growing, she loves suggestions 😉 books and more at “Sula’s Library of Resources.”

 

 

I’ve designed the site with the intention of interaction and expansion. There is an option to subscribe to a monthly newsletter where kids and teens can explore topics of interest in more depth, and write in with their questions and comments.

Above all, warriorsoflight.club is meant to be a resource of discovery and exploration for kids of all ages (that means adult kids too!). I’d be honored to have you visit it and share it with anyone who might find it of interest.

Thank you!

Alethea