Perfect Insights Blog

Dominican Sister of Peace and an Dominican Associate: Wisdom Seekers Together

It was quiet. As I stepped across the doorway her eyes opened. “Oh it’s you! C’mon in. , She nodded to the chair by the vacant bed across the room. “ Bring that chair over.” The quick, curt command was reminiscent of many I had known since my first day of ninth grade religion class with Sr. Dorothy Sarachene OP at the helm.

“I did not mean to waken you.”

“Oh don’t worry I will have plenty of time to sleep,” the irony chuckled low in her voice as she wrestled with the IV in an attempt to sit up. Though I knew she was in pain I could not get used to the idea that these were her last few days. Hospice, I thought, a kind word pulled from the annals of ancient civilizations, a destination that pilgrims sought for rest as they journeyed to a holy place. Here, settling in with Sr. Dorothy, I felt its sacredness.

Dorothy did not like maudlin scenes so bypassed the traditional amenities and plunged immediately into questions about my son, grandkids, my mom and others. Though I had answered these same questions on an earlier visit that day these were ritualistic conversation starters stemming from years of lunches, dinners and walks tinged with intellectual bantering that eventually led us to sharing our most recent spiritual insights and challenges. Each journey , a spiritual maze of intrigue and wonder was a fascinating adventure filled with growth opportunities if one were quick enough to recognize them. Today Dorothy did not disappoint.

“ We need to talk about something. “

“Sure, go ahead. ”

“You need to write another prayer book. “ I inhaled deeply. Dorothy was well aware of my lagging interest in writing. I had created three prayer books using my stone carvings and prayer poetry and believing that the series had pretty much served its purpose I suspended that activity four years ago.

“You need to write another prayer book and you need to use the Owl.” I was still without words as my mind tracked the trajectory of her thought. This past year I carved an owl from a rich green and mauve colored alabaster. It was a quizzical looking character and Dorothy had fallen in love with its questioning eyes. When I had shown it to her she stroked every inch of its being as if it were a sacred object in and of itself.

Then before I could speak she added one last element, “ And you need to make this one happy!” The request, now a punctuation mark, was aimed directly at my heart and soul. Finished she fell back into the pillow and in a more hopeful tone asked,

I realized I was holding my breath, listening for words that would mitigate my shock, soothe the awareness of impending loss and uphold my ultimate respect and love for this woman. As the twinkle in her eye expanded and a grin, glittered with joy spread across her face I knew what to say.

I slowly measured each word. “Well, you are not being very fair here.”
“I mean, c’mon Dorothy. Really? You are literally lying here on your death-bed and asking me to write a prayer book I do not want to write. What am I suppose to say, no? “

Her eyes sparkled and laughter exploded as tears merged our souls together in grace and gratitude.

Thank you God!

Dorothy Sarachene, OP Dominican Sister of Peace died on June 29, 2017. In August of 2018, Vicki Perfect, OPA self published her fourth prayer book titled Perfect Prayers, Wisdom Seeker. The book is dedicated to Dorothy Sarachene O.P. Dominican Sisters of Peace, soul friend and wisdom seeker extraordinaire. Always soul connected. Always loved. 

It is available online through Etsy at or Vicki’s website

Contemplative Moment: In Solidarity with the Cross

I am here Jesus, below the cross, silent as my nakedness crawls from its shadow. I struggle to stand with You, so vulnerable and exposed. My heart searches your eyes, their lids soft and moist, holding mercies of forgiveness in a relaxed awareness beyond space and time. A slow tireless release of tears languish on your cheekbone, stopping to reflect on a life lived amid its wonder and chaos; a life called to create a new path; one leading You to the arms of Your Father. I wonder if you truly believe that now, if that faith is at all unnerved by the betrayals and abandonment, as mine would be. I look more closely. Your tears do not judge my wandering thoughts, they move forward, committed, quietly hydrating the essence of humanity before dropping and dispersing onto the parched ground; evaporating across the world, a world clumsy in its embrace of one another, ambivalent to the truth, fearful of the moments that unfold.

“What is it You see, Lord? “

I close my eyes and look inward knowing full well my complicity – my victimization of brokenness added to the trajectory of suffering in this world, my failed stewardship of gifts; a repressed anger with addictive legacies, raised in and clung to; closeted denial, even shame for what I knowingly perpetrated in my life and most painful, the belief that You had abandoned me, that I did not matter. I was a skeptic as my suffering unfolded, rebellious, arrogant and, like your disciple Peter, I denied my truth, denied You.

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke23: 34)

I am startled by the cry. My eyes open as the veins in your neck morph into unscathed hands reaching beyond the body that hold them. I strain upwards but can only touch the shriveled skin hanging from a single iron nail, a nail perforating the unnamed covenant You hold with God, a penetration intended to erase the ground You crisscrossed one village, one person at a time. I fold my hands gently over the nail in an effort to shelter your feet and perhaps reconcile my heart with this cry of love and forgiveness. I shiver, the compassion palpable, a love I sense yet hesitate to fully inhabit. I waver. The effort to stay hopeful threatens this vulnerability and its ability to stay present. In desperation I try to remember what it is You spoke when you did not speak at all.

“ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

A draft of light flashes across your chest. I feel enlightened, lifted as a sense of peace freshens the air. Your breathing is subtle, undisturbed as if your Presence is here and elsewhere at the same moment. I look up and see your tears have stopped, the lids relaxed. I feel safe. I watch, listen and without thought join the quiet cadence of breaths You inhale then exhale. Our breathing unfolds as one and stops.

An omnipresent grace engulfs my soul, a presence beyond words, beyond wonder, beyond the boundaries of humanity speaks its silence.

This is love
Your love
Our love
All love
One love
Divine love

“Father, into Your Hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

Ready, Set, Go!

Summer on the horizon and already new starts and new adventures are inviting our attention.  My neighbor Sharon and I witnessed preparations for the maiden flight of three baby sparrows whose family had nested in the backyard birdhouse. Fortunately for me, Sharon is a super talented photographer and was able to capture the family as they prepared to launch their family into the sparrow community.

It was fascinating to watch – each baby sparrow took turns inching their way  into the sunlight while Mom and Dad, protective and watchful,  kept pushing them back in waiting for the foreigners to leave the scene. It was clear these children would fly today ; and the parents were determined they would be fed and ready when their human audience had left the scene.

The first sparrow up to the window was definitely hungry and most likely not willing to leave on anything but a full stomach. It made me wonder what kind of baby bird talk ensues with the onset of an empty tummy. The other youngster was the more eager, repeatedly testing the footing on his front perch…I suspect he was asking, “Will this really hold?” He appeared groomed and ready and in his excitement would dart back and forth the moment Mom and Dad left the scene. As for the final baby sparrow I would guess this was the most timid.  I could see the youngster was not nearly as wide awake or super groomed for the new world. Still curiosity,  rooted in its DNA, pushed aside any fear, doubt or trepidation that threatened its future.  Like it or not destiny was calling.

After watching for about thirty minutes or so Sharon and I decided it was time to give the family its privacy. We wished them well, hoping against hope that all three baby sparrows made it safely into the air on their first try thereby avoiding the ground and its predators. It’s as much as any of us can hope for.

I returned about ten minutes after Sharon had left and was blessed to watch the last baby fly away…a bit clumsy on the perch, less than graceful on the take off  but a freedom flight success story completed for 2015.  I have to believe  all are enjoying their new found adventure in the bird world.

And with that memory my summer soul connections begin!

What kicked off your summer soul connection? 




Unfolding Now: Thank You!

Fourteen weeks ago I proclaimed my desire to “move from living my life as a problem to be solved to living my life as a mystery that unfolds.” I needed a daily practice to help me stay the course and allow the mystery to engage all my senses. I chose blogging and asked you to hold me accountable for sustaining that practice throughout the Lenten/Easter season.

IMG_0599Here are principles that came to light and are fast embedding themselves in my unfolding….

Week 1: Unfolding Now  

Let go of over thinking and doubt. Make a commitment. Go public with it. Get your friends involved and check in often.

Week 2: Unscrambling the Sacred

Scared and sacred are present in the same moment; just change perspective, unscramble your emotions and lead with the sacred.

Week 3: Meeting My Elder Within

Optimize your inner child’s joy; your inner adult’s hope; and your inner elder’s wisdom and compassion – for yourself and others.

Week 4: The Embrace Factor

Mindfulness grounds the mystery as it unfolds. Root yourself in its Presence and it will help you “see” your connectedness with the world.

Week 5: Take Time to Celebrate

In gratitude blessings and grace are one. Celebrate everything!

Week 6: Let Someone Inspire You

Everyone wants to be seen, be heard, be vital. Liberate another’s dignity, set their bling free and watch them inspire you.

Week 7: Don’t Forget to be Awesome 

You are awesome. Your mystery is awesome. No need to earn it. Just let it be and watch it create awesome all around you!

Week 8: Honor Your Faith

Awareness without change is just awareness.  Change ushers in mystery; with or without permission. Faith anchors belief; remains stalwart in the face of doubt and discouragement.  Remember your commitment to yourself and your God: be patient, persevere.

Week 9: Just a Thought to Consider

Our lives unfold one moment at a time. Those moments can be absurd, funny, serious, playful, sometimes even solemn. Take time to reflect and enjoy where they take you.

Week 10: Be Safe

Aspiring to wholeness requires that you ensure you are physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually safe wherever you unfold.  Moments are precious, be safe in them.

Week 11: A Prayer Pause 

When you cannot pace yourself; ask God to do it for you.

Week 12: Break and vacate!

Ah yes. Take that break …do that thing you have been wanting to do …NOW.

Week 13: Back From My Stone Carving Break;  

Capture your unfolding, record it and share your revitalization experience!

Week 14: Thank You! 

This is for you –  all my readers — it’s a never-ending thank you …for listening, for keeping me accountable and for being with me on this leg of my unfolding. You are the best!

Seriously thanks everyone and feel free to share your thoughts on these or lessons you may have picked up along the way.  The entire series can be found on the drop down menu for INSIGHTS SHARED  (right hand bar). Click  UNFOLDING for all blogs in this series.

Have a great day and stay soul connected! 






Back from My Stone Carving Break

I just finished an uplifting unfolding of a phenomenal time out.  I went stone carving in Kansas,  immersed myself for three and half days with  intentions to learn  to use air tools and learn how to carve a relief.  I had some fits and starts but ended up with a decent start on a future limestone flower.

Next I took copious notes on filing and finishing the limestone flower, toured the stone yard, added an alabaster stone to my treasures, loaded the Honda and headed out.  About 25 miles into the return drive I  stopped to walk over the Missouri River in Booneville, Kansas.   C’mon,  how could I pass that up?

IMG_1773 (3) I want to  send my thanks to Myles for a wonderful experience, for bringing together a superb community of stone carvers who unselfishly  shared their passion, their knowledge, their creative insights and simple, authentic presence.

Now that is something I can aspire to….






A Prayer Pause

I came across this gift of a prayer pause today.  I am gifting it to you.

Take care.


A Translation of the Japanese Version of the 23rd Psalm

The Lord is my pace setter, I shall not rush;

He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals

He provides me with images of stillness,

which restore my serenity;

He leads me in ways of efficiency

through calmness of mind,

and His guidance is peace.

Even though I have a great many things to

accomplish each day,

I will not fret, for His presence is here.

His timeliness,

His all importance will keep me in balance.

He prepares refreshment and renewal

in the midst of activity

by anointing my mind with His oils of tranquility.

My cup of joyous energy overflows.

Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,

for I shall walk in the pace of my Lord,

and dwell in His house forever. 

Be Safe


I  purchased a new car this week after an unexpected mistake on my part –  I rear ended a vehicle waiting  to make a left hand turn and totaled my 2007 CRV Honda.  Fortunately no one was hurt and both drivers walked away without injuries.  My car however did not.

Today when I was driving the new 2015 CRV Honda  through Brunswick, Ohio  I passed a road sign with two simple words:  Be Safe.  And to solidify my attentiveness, a visceral sense of loss, gratitude and amazement swept over me; the same one  I experienced when I sat in my totaled car at the car compound and wondered how I ever walked away unscathed.  It had to have been a message from God or my mother.  I would not be surprised.  My mom is a card carrying member of the Sacred Heart Auto Club; has been all her life.  She has enrolled each of her eight children and her subsequent grandchildren in the club as well.  She utters “Be Safe” much more easily and more frequently  than “I love you.”  That’s OK, it means pretty much the same thing in her heart.

image007As a result I have always been cognizant of the need to physically “be safe” and, as the care taker of my life acknowledge safety is first and foremost my responsibility.  However as this experience unfolded; the crash, the insurance claim, the car research, test drives and finally a decision to purchase I had the pleasure of discussing the whole aspect of safety with different people who shared unbelievable stories and  I began to see the  concept of “being safe” in a new way.  I think there is a  holistic structure to safety that demands  its own focused awareness and attention.   To truly be safe one must feel and believe they are safe physically, emotionally, mentally  and spiritually.   Makes me wonder if lack of feeling safe in any one of those dimensions induces doubt.  And if there is doubt is there real ownership? Hmmm……

Well, I do not understand all of what is happening in this unfolding but I do sense that the words “Be Safe” are as much a message of love as they are a reminder to pay attention in all dimensions of  “being” while you are on this soul journey through life.

So this message is to you — from God, the Brunswick Ohio community, my mother and me.

 Be Safe

Take Care,