She Brings Me Water

An aeclectic look at the nearby world

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Giveaways at Goodreads

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Parisian by Heart by Mari Mann

Parisian by Heart

by Mari Mann

Giveaway ends January 08, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Parisian by Heart

Parisian by Heart

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Stories from the Other World by Mari Mann

Stories from the Other World

by Mari Mann

Giveaway ends January 08, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Stories cover

Stories from the Other World

 

 

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Giving Tuesday Giveaway

New Book!

New Book!

I’ll be running this giveaway for one week, from December 2nd to December 9th, 2014. The giveaway is for one signed copy of Stories from the Other World. To enter to win, leave a comment here, or on Facebook. Bonne chance!

(Update: The giveaway is over, and the winner is…Ann Sutton! Thank you to all who entered and for all your support.)

IslandLotus Yoga and a Book Signing

New Book!

New Book!

Visit me at Willowgait Farm’s Artisan Festival on Sunday, Oct. 26th, 2014, from 10am t0 4pm on beautiful Knotts Island, North Carolina. I’ll be signing copies of my new book, Stories from the Other World and holding drawings for free yoga classes and book copies.

Willowgait Farm Artisan Fair 2014

Willowgait Farm Artisan Fair 2014

I’ll also be selling paintings by Ethel Barritt, baby spider plants and aloe veras, and homemade hot pepper vinegar. The Knotts Island Ruritans will be there selling barbecue, too. Come on down and enjoy the day!

 

Madeleines and Memories

November 18. The Anniversary of Marcel Proust’s death day in 1922. In Honor of Remembrance of Things Past, here are two madeleine recipes:

 

Madeleines

 

2 large eggs

½ cup sugar

5 T. butter, melted & cooled slightly

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 t. baking powder

Grated zest of ½ lemon

¼ t. vanilla extract

 

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk or blend the eggs and sugar until frothy.  Add the cooled melted butter, blending well.  On low speed or with the whisk, add the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and vanilla until blended.  Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside to rest for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375*.  Butter and flour the madeleine molds.  Whisk the batter for a moment to remix, then spoon the batter lightly into the molds, filling them three-quarters full.  Bake until the cakes are risen and golden, 10 or 11 minutes.  If the madeleines start to brown before the crown has risen, open the oven door slightly and continue to bake until they have risen.

As soon as the madeleines are done, carefully remove them from the tins onto a wire rack.  Serve immediately.  The madeleines can also be cooled on a rack and stored for several days in an airtight container.

Makes about 15 madeleines (25 minis).

From Paris Boulangerie Patisserie: Recipes from Thirteen Outstanding French Bakeries, page 74

Madeleines

Madeleines

Chocolate Madeleines

 

2 eggs

½ cup sugar

¼ t. vanilla

pinch salt

6 T. butter, melted & slightly cooled

3/8 cup of flour (the mark just above 1/3)

¼ cup cocoa

 

  1. Melt the butter & allow to cool slightly.
  2. Whisk eggs & sugar until thick & lemon-colored.  Add the vanilla & salt.
  3. Fold in the flour & cocoa, then the melted butter.
  4. Allow the batter to rest for 1 hour.
  5. Heat the oven to 425*.
  6. Butter the madeleine pans then spoon in the batter to 3/4ths full.
  7. Bake the madeleines about 7-9 minutes; immediately turn out of molds onto cooling racks.

 

madeleine pan

madeleine pan

 

“And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings, when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea…And as soon as I had recognized the taste of the piece of madeleine soaked in the decoction of lime-blossom which my aunt used to give me, immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage set…and with the house the town….the streets along which I used to run errands, the country roads we took when it was fine…the whole of Combray and its surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being, town and gardens alike, from my cup of tea.”

(Adapted from Swann’s Way, In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust)

 

 

Anniversaries and a Giveaway

Click on over to my Madeleine Moments blog and read about the 100th anniversary of Marcel Proust’s first novel, the 6th year anniversary of my blog, and leave a comment to possibly win prizes, including a signed copy of my novel, Parisian by Heart, which features Marcel Proust himself.

My book, also now available in a Kindle edition

Parisian by Heart

To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment here, or on the Madeleine Moments blog, or like my Parisian by Heart Facebook page. Contest ends Feb. 18th, 2013.

(Now that the contest is over, find the winners here.)

Dr. Woo-Woo

Saturday, November 17th, 2012 a friend and I went to the Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach, VA., to hear Dr. Eben Alexander III, author of Proof of Heaven, speak of his near-death experience. I had first read about Dr. Alexander in Newsweek and, as I read about Dr. Alexander’s vision of “Heaven” that included fluffy white clouds, a lush green valley, masses of butterflies and a beautiful girl, I thought sounds like the Western white Christian version of Heaven. Bah, humbug. Then this friend asked me if I had seen the article; she had read the book and was so overwhelmed by it that she had bought it and wanted to loan it to me. I read it and ended up having a lot of questions about the whole thing. But let’s hear a little bit about Dr. Alexander’s experience:

Although I considered myself a faithful Christian, I was so more in name than in actual belief. I didn’t begrudge those who wanted to believe that Jesus was more than simply a good man who had suffered at the hands of the world. I sympathized deeply with those who wanted to believe that there was a God somewhere out there who loved us unconditionally. In fact, I envied such people the security that those beliefs no doubt provided. But as a scientist, I simply knew better than to believe them myself.

In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death. 

Very early one morning four years ago, I awoke with an extremely intense headache. Within hours, my entire cortex—the part of the brain that controls thought and emotion and that in essence makes us human—had shut down. Doctors at Lynchburg General Hospital in Virginia, a hospital where I myself worked as a neurosurgeon, determined that I had somehow contracted a very rare bacterial meningitis that mostly attacks newborns. E. coli bacteria had penetrated my cerebrospinal fluid and were eating my brain.

When I entered the emergency room that morning, my chances of survival in anything beyond a vegetative state were already low. They soon sank to near nonexistent. For seven days I lay in a deep coma, my body unresponsive, my higher-order brain functions totally offline.

Then, on the morning of my seventh day in the hospital, as my doctors weighed whether to discontinue treatment, my eyes popped open.

There is no scientific explanation for the fact that while my body lay in coma, my mind—my conscious, inner self—was alive and well. While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility. (From the Newsweek article, Oct. 8th, 2012)

One of my questions was, if this guy’s “higher order brain functions were completely offline”, how, after he came out of the coma, did he remember what happened while he was in the coma? And how did he know that this experience happened while he was in the coma, and not right before, when he was having convulsions as the bacterial meningitis attacked his brain, or right afterward, as he was coming out of the coma (he also says that at this time, he had psychotic delusions in which his wife was chasing him in a hospital and he was rescued by Ninjas)? And that this experience constitutes “proof” of a real place called “Heaven”?

My friend photographing Dr. Alexander

Then this friend tells me that Dr. Alexander is coming to the A.R.E. and asks if I want to go with her. The Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), for those unfamiliar with the place, is described thus on their website: “Edgar Cayce (1877–1945) founded the non-profit Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) in 1931, to explore spirituality, holistic health, intuition, dream interpretation, psychic development, reincarnation, and ancient mysteries—all subjects that frequently came up in the more than 14,000 documented psychic readings given by Cayce.” So you know the audience there for Dr. Alexander is going to be sympathetic, as is my friend, and, with reservations mostly involving the questions above, so was I. Let me explain.

I believe in what Dr. Alexander (in a playful and affectionate manner) calls “woo-woo”. I believe in reincarnation, in near-death experiences, in the existence and persistence of the spirit after the body has expired, in other worlds and multiverses. If you know me or have read my book Parisian by Heart, you know that I have seen ghosts, including my maternal grandfather, my husband’s father, and a woman who lived in our house many years ago, and have spoken to them and heard them speak to me. I have not had a near-death experience, although my friend’s mother has; she herself has had an out-of-body experience- but I am  a self-taught lucid dreamer who always knows when I am dreaming and have traveled through space and time in my dreaming body.

I believe in a Divine Creator who brought into being all that there is and that we, and everything we can experience in this world and beyond it, carry sparks of the divine within. I do not believe in a god who gives his creations one shot at life and then consigns good folks to a place called Heaven or bad folks to a place called Hell, for all eternity, which is a very long time. I believe in a creator that has sent us, and continues to send, teachers, like Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa and Edgar Cayce, to help guide us and show us the way. And sometimes, maybe even an ordinary joe like Dr. Alexander gets to bring back a little piece of the divine to share.

So on this Saturday, Dr. Alexander speaks to the standing room only crowd in a conference room at the A.R.E. From 10a to 12p he stands before an Apple computer while beside him, a large screen projects the PowerPoint presentation that outlines his NDE (near-death experience) and how it affected his life. There is also a question and answer session. The presentation and Q&A’s continue in an afternoon “workshop” the same day from 2:30-4:30p. Then, of course, there is a book-signing. My friend has brought her copy of the book to be signed.

Dr. Alexander behind the Apple

As my friend helps explain to me, and as is discussed in the presentation and answers, Dr. Alexander can remember his NDE because of, and as proof of, the existence of one’s consciousness outside of the brain and body. Memories, information of all kinds, remembrances of past lives, etc., can be accessed from that other realm, through psychedelic drugs (not recommended) or in trance states, like Edgar Cayce did, or through deep meditation, Dr. Alexander’s preferred method. As he talks, remembering and relating his experience, he shuts his eyes for many moments, as if watching a movie inside his mind. His time in that other realm was more real to him, he says, than anything he has ever experienced. It has not faded with time, as a dream or nightmare would have.

And what about the fluffy white clouds, the green valley, the butterflies, the beautiful girl…? Dr. Alexander believes that our personal perception of this world and the constructs of what we perceive as “Heaven” color and overlay the translation and transmitting of that other realm he visited, a place of peace that is suffused with the divine and to which we, after many lifetimes here, will eventually return to spend eternity.

But still….”Proof of Heaven”? Turns out the book’s publisher, Simon and Schuster, chose the title, and Dr. Alexander objected to it vehemently. His experience, he argued, did not constitute proof, and the “place” he went to was not Heaven as Christians would define it. The publishers also asked him to remove nearly 3/4 of the book as he had written it, in order not to overwhelm the readers at first. It could serve as an introduction to him and his NDE and subsequent conclusions and reflections on it, and if it was well-received, a second book could contain the removed material. Much of that has to do with quantum physics/string theory/frequencies and vibrations and its parallels with all that “woo-woo” stuff.

One more thing- the beautiful girl. Dr. Alexander was adopted after his 16 year-old, unmarried mother gave him up a few months after his birth. As he got older he searched for his birth mother, off and on, occasionally working with a social worker, but it wasn’t until after his NDE that the social worker called him to say his birth family was ready to make contact with him. His birth mother had ended up marrying Dr. Alexander’s father, her childhood sweetheart, and they had gone on to have three more children. When he finally went to meet them, there was his mother, his father, and two siblings. After the emotions of the meeting had died down, he asked them where was the third sibling? She died two years ago, they said, and handed him a picture of her. Two years ago was before the doctor’s near-death experience. He looked at the photo. It was the beautiful girl.

Woo-woo.

Dr. Eben Alexander

Yoga Master and Island Art Day

An amazing thing has happened- a real yoga Master has appeared on our island and is going to build an “International Yoga Institute” here. Why is this so amazing? Because I have been doing yoga off and on since I was a teenager (some 40+ years ago) but have never had an actual teacher, much less one who is a Grand Master. When I say “actual” teacher, I mean a living being- I have only done my yoga through books, tapes and DVD’s, “virtual” teachers, at best. This actual teacher is named Master Adam Nguyen and you can read about him here. I have been attending a weekly one-hour class every Thursday since May (2012) here on the island, and have had several private lessons as well. Master Adam stresses holding poses for lengthy amounts of time, and goes to each student to correct their positions if needed, and sometimes pulls you farther into each pose, to show how much more you are capable of doing, something a virtual teacher cannot give. Having him here has made a great deal of difference in my yoga practice.

The old Foxx house on Parker Lane, that used to be a lifesaving house over the water at Wash Woods.

This house is on the property that Master Adam bought on Knotts Island and he is allowing us (his students) to use it as a place to practice and as a place to have an Art Day. On August 7th, 2012, from 11am to 1pm, we will draw, paint, write, play instruments…whatever art or literary-ness you want to create. Bring supplies (I will also have some there), your creativity, a willingness to share and/or to learn, or just come to enjoy the vibes. Read more about it here and here’s a map.

As a warm-up to Art Day, there will be a one-hour yoga class on the same day, at the same place, at 10am. This class will not be led by Master Adam, but we may have him “virtually”, if we can get a TV set up to play one of his DVD’s. If not, we will follow his guidelines as best we can on our own. Bring your yoga mat or a large towel, some water, and please, no perfumes or strong scents.

Namaste, and see you on Art Day!