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Showing posts from 2008

To resolve or not resolve, that is the question!

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Many of you who know me well know that I am not one to follow blindly the trends of others. In fact, tenacity r' us, especially when I feel strongly about something.So it is, also, with some of our traditions.

Whoever came up with the idea that in order to make a resolution you have to give something up? Why do we take the negative view on things? It only defeats the purpose.

"Giving up" food we love, things we like to do, etc., sets us into a negative frame of mind. Is it no wonder that we fail to keep our resolutions?Being positive, I believe, helps make things happen. If I resolve to allow myself more time to walk each day, I will eventually begin to see a change in my body. Exercise is good for the metabolism. This idea is so much more positive than, "I am not going to eat." The "not" is what gets us subconsciously.

Therefore, the resolutions I want to make this New Year's Eve are:

I will allow myself more time for walks, dancing and pla…

From the Poet's Soul

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I have sat here before, in this little chair beside the windows of the garden looking for inspiration. Almost always, the Muse meets me halfway and the words flow onto the screen. Yet, today, I feel empty of words, empty of ideas.

Resolution: Never give up hope! (Never, say never!) Hope eternally!

So, I look into the archives...the dusty pages of hand written scribblings, the faded pages of type from my old typewriter (yes, many of my first poems were typewritten, literally!). I find a few offerings, my New Year's gift to you all.

NON-PRODUCTIVE

Holding the pen,
I strain to push thoughts
onto the paper.

My being is heavy
with the memories of the past,
thoughts for the future,
and reflections on the duties
due the present.

The phrases that appear
have no rhyme,
no reason.

Frustration and weariness
push dreams away...
the words are gone...
I am empty.

The mind would continue this madness,
but the heart rules.
Rest and quiet will fill the empty spaces.
Sleep will bring inspiration,
then, it will be tim…
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A gift of Poetry and Photo's from my home to yours! Peace, Love and Light, Linda

ICE DANCERS
Fluid grace…
Beauty in motion…
Gliding and turning across an icy stage
Two bodies move as one,
Etching love letters on a crystal page.

© 1983 LMRN


Winter Scene - South Deerfield, MA

WINTER OF THE SOUL

After the plow has turned the fields under,
The harvest of the heart yielding all it will,
They must lie fallow for a bit.
In the cold, dark winter of the soul
The spirit heals and is renewed.
Until the first dawn of Spring'
When seeds of joy and peace and love
Bloom under a gentle hand.

© 12-01 LMRN York, Maine


Prayer flags in our yard

WINTER PASTURE

Harvest gold flora crunches
Beneath our boots
As we climb the rolling hills
That lead us to Dusk.
Like a great Victorian lady,
Sky wears a lace collar at her throat.
The intricate designs are held fast
By well-rooted birch and maple.

Atop the knoll we look
Down on a Robert Frost scene...
Farm houses punctuating the
Well-worked land.
Horses curiously watching
Our meandering…

Traditions

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Webster's defines "tradition" as: 1. the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, esp. by word of mouth or by practice; 2. something that is handed down; 3. a long established or inherited way of thinking or acting; 4. a continuing pattern of cultural beliefs or practices; ...The definition goes on for several more explanations, but I think you get the idea.

Growing up, we had a few traditions. Some were so entrenched in our lives that we didn't realize they were traditions until we stopped practicing them. Things like, Wednesday was spaghetti night; Saturday, we had beans and franks; and on Sundays we usually had a sit-down meal at around 2 o'clock. We called it dinner, which cracks my daughters up every time I ask, "So what's for dinner?" They call it supper.

Other traditions were explained in sincere, one on one talks, like when my Mom told me why we went to church on Sunday or wh…

Whaledreamers

It is not often that I watch a film that resonates with my heart and soul, so, when it happens, I want to shout from the highest mountains to let all know. My highest mountain is this blog. Hear me shout!

Whaledreamers!

I watched this beautifully crafted documentary last night, becoming overwhelmed with emotion. Kim Kindersley directs this epic about indigenous peoples (in particular an endangered indigenous group from Australia, the Mirning) around the world who gather to share their connections to the whales and dolphins.

If you have ever hoped for Peace in the world, connecting all peoples at the very center of our many beliefs, this film is a must see! Julian Lennon, as the producer, continues the legacy of Peacemaker handed down to him by his father.

Among the last slides of the film it states, "The people of the world are awakening. We are the ones we have been waiting for...Do something, anything...The Time is Now!"

From my highest mountain I shout! Peace! We can …

Day of Thanks

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Thursday many of us around this country will gather with family, friends, friends that feel like family and/or family that we wish were friends. There will undoubtedly be bountiful feasts prepared...some perhaps from our own gardens...most prepared by someone in attendance. Children will run around gleefully playing, football games will be held at many high school fields, some folks will sit together to watch the parade and to see their favorite pro teams battle for THE title, mothers/grandmothers/aunts/sisters will gather in the kitchen to prepare their specialties. Finally, everyone will sit around a table filled with mouth-watering delicacies to eat.

Stop!

Here is where I make my humble request. It will only take a moment.
Before everyone digs into the food, whether there are only two or thirty-two of you gathered, take a moment to reflect on the feast before you. Take a moment to realized how blessed you are. Take a moment to explain to the children that they are privileged in …

Holidays/Holy Days

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Sitting at the computer, I notice that the dark is descending upon us at only 4 p.m. The darkest days of the year are yet to come. The light of the computer screen is all that is illuminating the space I am in at the moment. I want to get my thoughts down more than I want to turn on the lights.

Imagine having brought in the harvest, stocked the larder and gathered your family around the table for a harvest feast. Or, imagine how dark, how alone one might have felt during a time without electricity. It is no wonder that our ancestors, the world round, celebrated Holy Days of Thanks and Light at this time of the year.

Thanks for the harvest became the forerunner of our Thanksgiving. While thanksgiving for the "return" of the sun(light), created the first Solstice celebration. From Bodhi Day to Kwanzaa, and from Hanukkah to Christmas, all the celebrations of this season center around the Light.



Several years ago, I attended a very beautiful service where the electricity was…

Martin's Dream

She was a little under eleven years old when Martin shared his dream with her. As with all children, she took it at face value, believing in the possibilities like she believed in pixies in the garden. While she was not the only one he had shared the dream with, somehow, she felt she held a special place in its becoming reality. As a child, she could talk of the dream in realistic terms without the practicality of the adult world raining on her.

Then the unthinkable happened, her innocence was stolen by the crimes of adults who lived on fear. Martin’s dream was shattered by a hate so real she stopped sharing it. The dream became a secret she kept locked in her heart, only to be taken out when she felt safe, or most often, alone.

Others did not understand the need to make the dream real. The few times she felt brave enough to even mention the possibilities of such a dream she met with ridicule. Childish sentiment, utopian imaginings, illusions of grandeur…all terms given for her…

Haircut

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BEFORE

When I was little, my mother kept my hair cut in what she called a "pixie". As a young teen, I opted for a "Twiggy" mainly because I had heard for years how my face was too small for long hair. On the occasions when I let my hair grow, Mom or others would constantly be at me to cut it. Part of me hated being told to cut my hair, and part of me loved getting a new look. The part that hated being told, wanted to grow my hair as long as I could. Someday, I thought, I would be brave enough to just do it.

Tenacious to a fault, I finally decided in my late forties, that I wasn't going to cut my hair until I wanted to cut it. Over the past ten years, I have grown my hair out several times, trimming it every so often, giving what was cut to Locks of Love.

{Locks of Love is an organization that makes wigs for children with cancer. Even though my hair is mostly gray, they still accept it and sell it to offset the manufacturing costs of making the wigs for the c…

Tree Fort

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Many years ago, when I was raising my four daughters, we lived in a neighborhood that still had woods and ponds and brooks unscathed by the desire to turn every inch of land into mega-mansions and ultra-malls. Most of our neighbors had sons, much to the girls delight and/or dismay depending on what area of maturity they were at in their development.

During a time when the boys were yucky, they (the boys) got together to build a tree fort directly across the street from our home at the top of a rise that elevated their view directly into the second story rooms. When the girls spied the boys in the tree fort, they would pull down the shades, squealing with delighted disgust that their privacy was being invaded. The boys would whoop and holler, make gun sounds, jump from the limbs of the tree and run commando style through the woods.

During the time that the boys had become cool to be with, the tree house served as a place to meet. From the vantage point of my bedroom window, I could se…

350 Bell Ring and Crop Walk

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A view of Mount Sugarloaf as we walk to end hunger

It was the most perfect autumn weekend. The sun lighting up the maples in glorious sunrise/sunset splendor. The sky was that crystal blue that only appears in New England on crisp autumnal days. It was the weekend of the socially conscious, the activist, the tree-huggers, the dog-lovers and me!

350 Bell Ring at South Deerfield Congregational Church

We started the weekend with our 350 Bell Ring for Climate Awareness. The evidence that the climate has gone to the dogs was apparent when a four-legged friend stopped by to ring the bell!


Four-legged friend comes by to ring the bell




At the finish of Crop Walk...tired but happy

On Sunday, another gorgeous day, we held the Franklin County Crop Walk to End Hunger. I did the 2+ mile loop, others took the 5+ mile loop up and down the rolling hills of South Deerfield. The walk raised over $20,000.


Resting in the arms of a friend, Miss Maple

If you are interested and want to help end world hunger, c…

Autumn in New England

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There is something enchanting about autumn in New England. No place in the world do the trees have such a rich, multi-colored vibrancy, or the air that particular mixture of farm animals, pines, ocean, apples and pumpkins all blended together.

As has become our family custom, the girls and I gather each year to pick apples. The crisp fall air, the smell of apples and the dark, lush earth are the elixir for a day of laughter, and light-heartedness.

The following pictures were from this year's outing. What fun!


Following the Middle Path


You sure you know how to drive this thing?


Look, Mom, Apples!!!!


Nanilin and Apple Pixie


Chillin with Mom


Simon says, "Touch your nose!"

Sabbath

There are some words that I have found to be interesting. Words which cause you to want to know more or sound musical when you speak them or look as if they are a complete story unto themselves. Words like calliope, rutabaga, serendipity or peregrine.

Sabbath has intrigued me since I first heard it. You seldom hear this word, unless it is spoken in the context of religion. Where did it come from? What is the meaning? Why are we still using it today?

Sabbath comes from the Old English sabat - the seventh day of the week observed by the Jews of the day (about 950) as a day of rest; borrowed from Latin sabbatum, from Greek sabbaton, from Hebrew shabbath, from shabath he rested. Sabbath was applied to the first day of the week (Sunday) about 1410. The spelling with double b is first recorded about 1280, and that with th though recorded before 1382, did not become widespread before the 1500's. (Resource: The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology, Robert Barnhart, Ed., 1995, H…

Natal Celebration in Fairy Land

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Are you home Fairies?

Last week, I celebrated another natal anniversary. The highlight of the week was gathering with all my daughters and granddaughters for the Annual Fairy House Tours in Portsmouth, NH.

What fun it was to watch as my oldest granddaughter peeked into a fairy house and called, "Fairies, are you in there?" Her unconditional belief in the possibility of fairies, elves, and other ephemeral beings is a delight. She has yet to be jaded by the barrage of reality programing. She has yet to be told "the truth" about fantasy and make-believe. It was good for all present at our gathering to witness and support her visit to the Fairy Houses.

Wait till I get this working!


When the girls were little, I would tell them, "If you don't believe in the magic, it doesn't happen." It is something they all remember, and to this day, follow.


Momma Fairy and her two Pixies


What a joy to be able to turn 55 and still "make-believe" with my daug…

Rays of Hope

Forty-five years ago, Martin Luther King gave his now famous, “I have a dream” speech. Forty-five years ago, we began to witness, that dream and the dreams of many Americans, systematically being snuffed out by greed, lies and violence.

In the past eight years, I began to despair that America had forever lost the ability to stand proud among all the nations of the world. I began to despair that my dreams for my children and grandchildren, all female, would never come to fruition. I began to despair that while I had finally finished the education begun nearly forty years ago, I would never be allowed the opportunity to share my gifts, talents and skills with others.

Last week, hope was restored. Last week, as I listened, tears spilling from the corners of my eyes, my dreams began to grow once more. Last week, as Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech as the Democratic candidate for President of these United States, possibilities for change sprang into being.

Today, as I sit writing …

Lemons, Lemonade, and Life

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How many times have I heard someone say, "If Life hands you lemons, make lemonade!"? Too many!

It seems that Life is constantly handing us lemons, some fat and juicy, some withered and dry. Trying to "make lemonade" every time can be downright ludicrous. Even Pollyanna would agree that sometimes the best solution is to throw the lemons into the compost.



Lately, I have been making compost. No amount of sugar could sweeten the stuff Life has been sending my way. Not to despair, compost is even better than lemonade. While lemonade can temporarily quench your thirst, compost can feed whatever food you need to grow so that you have a bountiful harvest.



Going Within

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Jung


Reflective practice has helped me gain strength during some of life's toughest moments. A writer must develop this art...one cannot write creatively without first listening to the heart.

Recently, listening to my heart has led me to some uncharted waters. After months in an untenable situation, I gathered all the advice I had been given, sorted through the different scenarios and then listened to what my heart was telling me. I do not know what might appear over the next horizon, but I do know that in my heart, I have made the best decision for me.

So, I wait with anticipation to what might come next in my life. I have my beloved beside me, I am able to share in the lives of my grandbabies and I can always find solace in the written word...it doesn't get much better than that!

In the meantime, I will continue to reflect...going within to listen …

Connections

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Have you ever walked into a place and felt like you knew it? Have you gone anywhere "new" and thought, "This looks just like..."?

Obviously, when those who first came to this country settled here, they must have felt this kind of connection. They made it obvious for future generations by naming places after those in the Old World. Hence, "New" England, "New" Hampshire, etc.

I have found in my travels that there are also connections which happen on a smaller scale. Little snapshots of time and space that mirror another. For example:


Where was this taken? Beacon Hill...London...D.C.??? It could be any of those places, but...

How about this little gem?


Ok, so the American flag might give this away as being here in the States, but, it could be in France, Spain or even South America.

The point is, these images remind us of other places far from where these photos were taken.

Won't keep you in the dark any longer, these two photos are of places …

Healing, Positive Energy and the Written Word

Many years ago, I learned that writing was essential to my well-being. If I wrote down my thoughts, dreams, plans, fantasies, I felt "good."

Today, I received my subscription to "O" magazine. It is one of two magazines I get monthly...The Sun is the other. In this issue of "O," is an ad for a new resource for people with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition with many confusing symptoms. The one common link is that all people with fibromyalgia have pain. This pain can get so debilitating, that the person cannot function normally. Simple tasks like putting on clothes or walking across the room become impossible.

As one who struggles daily with this condition, I have found certain things that truly help keep the pain to a minimum. What a delight it was to check out the link to fibrocenter.com and find that what I had discovered for myself is now being affirmed by doctors and other healthcare practitioners!

For instance, I know that if I wear …

Meeting Milestones

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Life is full of milestones. They begin with our first breath and we meet them along Life's journey until the day we come to the ultimate milestone, one which none of us will bypass...death.

As children, our parents, physicians and teachers track our milestones, noting if we meet, surpass or fail to reach them. As adults, our milestone are sporadic. They come at odd intervals, sometimes grouping together, sometimes taking years to accomplish.

For instance, it took me almost thirty years to receive my Bachelor's Degree. For most people, this is something that happens, usually immediately after high school and in a four year time span.

As a writer, I have met many milestones...my first professional publication, my first job as a writer, my first publication in a journal. Last week, another milestone was met, one that I have waited for over many years of writing. My book of poetry is finally a reality!

Winter of the Soul is a compilation of poems written over a span of decades.…

Eulogy for Dad

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What to say about a man like John Henry Neas, Jr., Daddy, Dad, Papa, Uncle John, Johnny, Brother, friend…hero!
Every human has heroes. These are the beings we look up to, we emulate, we forget are human.
Daddy was one such hero. He struggled with poverty, disease, alcoholism (sober for the last 40 something years!), and a host of other obstacles throughout his life. Growing up was hard, but hindsight being 20/20, I have come to realized that he gave us so much!
The gift of absolute love….Dad had a heart bigger than himself.If one of us needed him, he did everything in his power to be there for us.Patty has told me many times over the years, “Daddy was always there for me.”And, I have to agree, as I am sure many of the rest of you will, Dad was there… and not just for us…for everyone.Dad in his own way taught us that no matter how little you might have, there was always enough to share with others.He would literally give the shirt off his back if some else needed it.
I remember back in the…

Heroes Revisited

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Back a few months ago, I wrote the following:

Every human has heroes. These are the beings we look up to, we emulate, we forget are human.

I have several heroes. My parents are heroes. They have struggled with poverty, disease, addiction, and a host of other obstacles throughout their lives. Growing up was hard, but hindsight being 20/20, I have come to realized that they gave me so much! It is through my mother that I came to know and love writing, art, theater, music.


Four generations: Me, my daughter, granddaughter and my Mom

It is through my father that I learned to create something from nothing.

My DadBoth my Mom and Dad helped me see that no matter how little I had, there was always enough to share with others who were worse off than myself.

I decided to revisit this after my Dad died yesterday.
In the short span of 24 hours, I have come to hear from so many other people who saw my Dad as a hero. Doctors and nurses who fought to keep him alive...siblings, children, grandchildren...peo…

Multicultural Resources

As part of my final year in Graduate Studies, I am doing a Leadership Project. The project I am developing is a wiki for classroom teachers here in Massachusetts to use in order to help the diverse population of students in their classrooms find a connection in Language Arts Classes.

As our classrooms become more diverse, we need to be able to access literature/poetry from the countries from which our students come. The "ideal" would be to find books/poetry that have been translated into English so that the teacher might have the ability to read and understand the same text as the student. However, less than "ideal" will work just fine.


So, here is my challenge to any of my international readers...Send me the names (links to websites if you have them) of the poets and authors you loved best as a child or that your child loves best. Please tell me what country the author/poet is from and in what language they are writing.

Thank you for your help!

On Love and greeting card holidays

Tomorrow is one of the biggest greeting card holidays next to Christmas. I have a real problem with it, as I do with the commercialism of Christmas as well as the assumption by retailers that everyone celebrates these holidays. But, I digress.

Valentine's Day, as many know, began as a Christian (Catholic) holyday in remembrance of St. Valentine, a bishop who was imprisoned for his faith. There are several legends that explain how the day became associated with love. In one, it is said, "Valentine is said to have spent a year in rigorous imprisonment during which he was missed a lot by children. They began to toss loving notes and flowers between the bars of his cell window. To an extent, this legend may explain the tradition of exchanging notes and flowers on Valentine's Day.

Some scholars believe that during his stay in prison Valentine made friends with jailer's blind daughter who at times brought to him notes …