Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Brother...the Gunfighter.

Some of you have heard me mention my brother, during the joys and concerns and I know some of you were at Artworks the other night when I dedicated the song "Duelin' Daltons" to him. I'm not here to talk about my concerns, on this public forum, but here's a link, for those who might be interested, to an article about my brother, the gunfighter.'s a cooler pic:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New work...

Just wanted to pop in with a link to my art blog, where I've added a new one about a recent painting concerned with personal growth. Check it out, if you like, at .



Monday, May 12, 2008

UUs Are For the Birds!

Where do I begin? Mother's Day weekend has been a profoundly, moving experience for me and I don't think I am alone...since I wasn't alone. Accompanied by Orland Carra, Jeff, Marianne, Sandy and Alex Madzia, Bill and Laura Randolph and our fearless leader, Kibbie Kibbel, not to mention countless others from around the world, I wandered through sacred wilderness, listening for a particular song...watching for a twitch in the leaves, or a flutter of tiny wings.

I am a birder.

Who knew? I mean, I have always been a forest child. When I was little, my Mother would take us on long walks in the woods and teach us about all the wild things she knew. My father handed down a love of natural beauty...the colors in the sunset...fall leaves. They taught me the names of the more common creatures and to recognize the songs and sounds. Dad always had a bird feeder. He taught me how to use binoculars to get a very close look at Cardinals and Blue jays, Mocking Birds and Sparrows. When I grew up, life crept in and though I always enjoyed nature walks ("Wood's Tromping", we would call it), it wasn't until the late 1990's that I really began to pay serious attention to birds.

I lived in a sweet, little cabin in Yellow Sulphur Springs, VA. Our kitchen window looked out on to a, truly, magical place. Surrounded by forest, the buildings that were visible were very few, very old and fit the scene like a Norman Rockwell painting. I'd sit at that window for hours, watching our feeder, as I looked through various bird books for the names of all of our visitors. I learned a lot that year, but nothing compared to what I learned in a single day at the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area in Oak Harbor, Ohio on May 10th, 2008; International Migratory Bird Day.

I am a birder.

It's a new label for me. Like when I first called myself an artist, though I had been one, all my life. Today I feel just a bit more real, if you know what I mean. I've started my list...and now I'm hooked. I'm real. I've enlisted. I'm a birder.

As evidence of my "officialness", I submit the following list:

1. American Bald Eagle

2. American Redstart

3. Baltimore Oriole

4. Barn Swallow

5. Black Throated Green

6. Blackburnian Warbler

7. Brown-headed Cowbird

8. Cardinal

9. Catbird (Oh...and ya gotta see this...Cat it while surfing)

10. Cormorant

11. Great Blue Heron

12. Green Heron

13. Killdeer

14. Lincoln Sparrow

15. Nashville Warbler

16. Northern Parula

17. Northern Waterthrush

18. Prothonotary Warbler

19. Redbreasted Nuthatch

20. Red-winged Blackbird

21. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

22. Screech Owl

23. Swamp Sparrow

24. Tree Swallow

25. Warbling Vireo

26. White-crowned Sparrow

27. Wood Thrush

28. Yellow-rumped Warbler

29. Yellow Warbler

30. Yellow-throat Warbler

Not bad, for a single day of birding!

There was much more going on that day, than just looking at birds (as if that weren't enough). We were witness to a banding demonstration, which gave us a close-up view of many of the birds on my list. We had a lovely picnic on the beach (Lake Erie) and I bought a couple of souvenirs from the Friends of Magee Marsh. We stopped at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and also visited the Sportsman’s Migratory Bird Center, near by, where we were able to view a wide variety of raptors, up close, including an American Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Redtail Hawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon and a Barn owl. These were on perches, as they were all rescue animals. So sad for them to need humans so, but educational for us and, at least, they were being loved and cared for. Under a tent, next to them, were a variety of Owls including, Barn Owl, Barred Owl, Great Horned Owl and Screech Owl. There was also a special telescope set up inside the building where we could view a Bald Eagle on her nest!

All in all a magical weekend with great friends, good food, a little music and memories to last a lifetime!

Cool. I'm a birder.

© 2008 Bettina Makley

UPDATE! Click HERE for additional photos!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Extraordinarily Human

I found an amazing and inspiring video, today and I just had to share it. I'd love comments.

UPDATE: Found another one...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Moderating Posts.

I've recently had some problems on my art blog with porn spammers attempting to add content. The best way to stay on top of the problem is for me to start moderating comments. This means that, in the future, when you leave a comment, it will not publish until I have seen it. Please understand, I will only reject spam and porn. I will never reject someone's honest opinion, no matter how controversial. I do, still ask that opinions be expressed as diplomatically, as possible, as harsh or offensive terminology can trigger a mind to snap shut, especially if it is just starting to open. :)

Thank you all, in advance, for your understanding.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Check out this blog from Susan Blackmore when you get a chance. It is very interesting.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Common Gound

In last night's religious exploration class we viewed the third and final episode in the series of the Jonathan Miller documentary, "Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief". Lively discussion followed the film and something interesting came out of that discussion. As we were talking about the many atrocities that had been committed by various religious movements over the centuries (the Inquisition comes to mind for example) we also noted, as was brought out in the film, the first Atheist State (The USSR) had also committed horrible crimes against humanity as well. Bill suggested that the atrocities committed by religions were carried out by extremist individuals or groups and did not represent the Religion as a whole. Steve was pointing out that the USSR under Stalin also committed atrocities but that these were not done in the name of Atheism, per se, but rather because Stalin wanted to maintain his power. I think that there is some common gound here between believers and non believers, in that in each case, it was due to the excesses of individuals or smaller groups within the larger population that these horrible acts were committed. The end result was that also in each case, Religion and Atheism, the blame or the negative image was planted in the minds of many people who observed this from 'outside'. Perhaps this is one area in which believers and non believers can come together and agree. Common Gound.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Well it's official. The Church has changed the name of our Religious Education program to "Religious Exploration". Several members felt that the term 'Education' would be better expressed as 'Exploration' and many agreed. The issue came up at our last board meeting and was voted on and unanimously approved to change it to 'Religious Exploration'. So, Explorers, go boldly where no UU has gone before and seek out your truth!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Friday, January 4, 2008

Religious Exploration

Last night was the continuation of our RE (Religious Education) Class - this one being focused on "What is Atheism?" We had great attendance - 11 people showed up in the bitter cold. We viewed the first segment of Jonathan Miller's film, 'Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief ', and followed that up with some very lively and stimulating discussion. Nearly everyone there had vital and interesting points to make and the evening was a wonderful success. Somewhere in the discussion it was suggested that with the idea in mind of dogma and doctrine being a hindrance rather than a help to spiritual growth, instead of 'religious education' we should refer to these sessions as 'religious exploration', and all seemed to agree that this was the way to go. Please come and join in next Thursday Evening as we view the 2nd Segment entitled: "Noughts and Crosses"! . . . and try not to eat too many cookies!