Showing posts from 2009

Christmas Blessings!

From the Enchanted Cottage to You....
May the blessings of this day bring you
Light, Love and Peace
Throughout the New Year
Blessings, one and all!

The Peace Santa surrounded by Nativity
scenes from around the world


Greetings! Dia Duit! (pronounced, gee-ah ditch; literally means, "God be with you) Guten Tag! Zivjo!(pronounced, zhivyo) Sholem Aleikhem! (Literally means, "May peace be unto you.") Namaste! (Roughly translates to: I honor the place in you where we are both one.) Bonjour! Hola! Ni Hao! Aloha!

As you have probably guessed by now, this post is about greetings...the way we greet each other, what we say, how we say it, and why it is important. (The greetings above are - English, Gaelic, German, Slovenian, Yiddish, Hindu, French, Spanish, Chinese and Hawaiian.)

In many places around the world, people greet each other, formally or informally, by blessing them with wishes of peace or God's presence in their life or recognition of their "oneness." In other countries, it is a simple wish for a good morning/evening. Many times, the greetings are accompanied by a wave, handshake or bow.

When I was in Europe, several years ago, I loved the fact th…

Giving Thanks

Over the years, our Thanksgiving traditions have evolved.

As a young girl through my teens, I remember with great fondness celebrating Thanksgiving at my Aunt Edwina's. All my cousins and I had the best time playing games, listening to music, watching the parade.

Once I had a family of my own, we would travel between grandparents homes and our own. It was sometimes difficult; four little ones can be a handful to bundle up and travel from one New England state to another. But, the moments added to our memories were priceless.

As my daughters got older, we would celebrate at home with guests, filling the house with laughter and fun.

Since moving out to Western Massachusetts, our celebrations have been much quieter. Roger and I often travel to the Peace Pagoda in Leverett to meditate on how blessed we are. When we were first out here, my daughters and Roger's daughter would come with boyfriends/husbands in tow. Our tiny home was filled to overflowing with love, good food and mus…

Today - Memories

Momma, Daddy and Me - 1953

Today would have been my parent's 57th anniversary. The joke was that it made it easier for Dad to remember. Dad, you see, was a sailor.

Dad always observed Veteran's Day. He was a member of both the Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. As far as I know, he never missed a Veteran's Day memorial. Yet, he seldom spoke of his experiences as a wounded survivor of WWII.

In fact, in all the years before his death, I only remember him telling three stories about the years he spent in the Navy. Two had to do with kamikaze attacks and the other was about the liberation of a tiny South Pacific island - Pohnpei.

Dad served in both the North Atlantic and the South Pacific. He went into the service as a blond haired, blue-eyed boy, according to his enlistment records and returned a black haired, green-eyed man. His finger prints had to sent to Washington before he was released from service because they did not believe he was the s…

All Soul's Day/All Saints Day

Having been brought up Roman Catholic, I can never travel Life's Path on October 31 and November 1 without thinking of all my loved ones who have moved ahead on the Path and entered the next existence.

This past year, I have created my own Memorial Altar...a kind of "Day of the Dead" memorial on which I have pictures of my loved ones, some of my brother's ashes and a candle burning. Each time I pass, I pray...prayers of thanksgiving for their being part of my life, prayers for peace of spirit and mind, prayers of love.

When I was a child, it was creepy to think of people's spirits hovering close to us after death. As an adult, older and I hope wiser, I take great comfort in this thought. I have felt the presence of my mother and father over the past year during different times when I needed a bit of guidance or when I wished I could share a moment with them. I have felt my brother's spirit lingering at home, finally at peace, with my beloved and I. I hav…

What the....

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

After years as a writer, I am still shocked/amazed/dumbfounded by some of the stories found to be newsworthy today, as well as society's lack of understanding for the term private.

To begin with, when did "private" become the new public? I am old enough to remember that when a public figure asked for privacy it was respected. Now, as I heard on NPR this morning, you can attend a class reunion and your "private" comment can make national news!

Don't get me wrong, I love NPR. I listen to them every morning on my 45 minute drive to the college at which I teach. I enjoy the music, the intellectual commentary and find their news, for the most part, to be trustworthy and to the point.

So, it was with great surprise this morning that I listened to the NPR reporter discuss a matter our new Supreme Court Justice commented on during a "private conversation" (so stated by the reporter) at a college reunion. Why was this ne…

Finding the "Fun" in DysFUNctional

Today I'm participating in a mass blogging! WOW!Women On Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about family relationships. Why family relationships? We're celebrating the release of Therese Walsh's debut novel today. The Last Will of Moira Leahy, (Random House, October 13, 2009) is about a mysterious journey that helps a woman learn more about herself and her twin, whom she lost when they were teenagers. Visit The Muffin ( to read what Therese has to say about family relationships and view the list of all my blogging buddies. And make sure you visit Therese's website ( to find out more about the author."

The older I get, the more I realize that I had one crazy mother! However, her form of crazy was more of a tool for coping with a world that during her life had gone from WWII to the brink of nuclear war, from prohibition to race riots and from the health of an athle…


It has been the wisdom of many humanitarian groups that, "If you give a person a fish, they eat for a day. But, if you teach a person to fish, they eat for a lifetime." Teaching others to care for themselves not only enables them to have pride in their accomplishments, it also allows their dreams to come true...possible dreams.

Those who work at Possible Dreams International (PDI) understand this not only on the intellectual level but also from the level of action. The following pictures are from PDI. They show how the team at PDI helped a community to build a water tank for clean drinking water. The community was intimately involved in the project.

With Possible Dreams, the Mambane community went from drinking this:

To drinking this:

The Community celebrates clean water:

Clean water...something we all take for granted, yet for the people of Swaziland and other Third World countries, clean water is the difference between life and death.

To learn more about Possible Dreams Int…

I once was blind...

Orphans in Swaziland
Photo Credit:

I once was blind
to the pain and suffering
of those so far from here

I once was deaf
to the cries and whispers
of those across the sea

I once was mute
to the injustice and oppression
of those with faces unlike my own

But, now, my eyes
look, captured by their gaze,
connecting with the Light within

Now, my ears
hear the song of thousands
struggling to sing in harmony with Life

Now, my voice
beckons, like the bells of old
waking others to the Call

by Linda M. Rhinehart Neas
Copyright 2009


This poem came to me just after reading Maithri's latest blog post. While the same message has been given throughout the years by countless others, wiser and more eloquent than I, my prayer is that it will "wake others to the Call."

We have heard over the years the following:
"It takes a village to raise a child."
"We are the change we are waiting for." "Do to others as you would have done to you.""It shouldn't hurt to…

Be Love

There are times when the serendipity of Life just blows me over.

Today, I had the great pleasure of preaching at my friend Will's church. The theme for today's service was, "Be Love." The sermon spoke of how we are all called to Be Love in whatever manner we can. The sermon was well received, leaving me with a feeling of content accomplishment.

Arriving home, I sat down to check what emails had come in over the past two days while I was gone. My eyes were immediately drawn to an email that seemed to stand out like a beacon of Light from the screen. My friend, Maithri, had written about the new non-profit organization he has started for the people in Swaziland.

As I read his note and then traveled to the new website for Possible Dreams International (PDI), my heart filled with such joy. Here was an example of what I had been trying to share with the congregation at my friend's church. Maithri and the people who work with him, are all the personification of Love…

Mending Wall

When I was young, my mother would read Robert Frost's poetry to me as a treat. I always loved the pictures his words created in my mind.

One of my favorite poems was, Mending Wall. On the surface, it is a story of how each spring the writer goes and mends the rock walls that have been toppled by the frost heaves of winter. However, the deeper meaning speaks to the reader of how we wall ourselves off from others, keeping people at bay so that they do not learn too much about us.

I always felt sad when the neighbor in the poem says, "Good fences make good neighbors." It is clear that he is not interested in "how" the wall toppled, only that it be repaired as quickly and efficiently as possible. The writer on the other hand seems to enjoy musing on the various possibilities of the deconstruction...elves were always my choice!

On a recent trip to South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, I took pictures of some of the rock walls which make up this community's boundarie…

Moved at the movies

Every once in a while, I am pleasantly surprised by a movie. Of late, there have been several which have just made me feel good, gave me something to think about and/or touched my heart in a way that I had not anticipated.

The Soloist was a delightful surprise. Learning the premise of the movie...journalist finds homeless man and helps him out...I had my doubts that this was going to really touch on the issues behind homelessness. I was wrong, it gave an honest portrayal of homelessness as well as mental illness.

In addition, if you get the DVD of this movie, I recommend watching the "Extras." There are several interviews with the actual people that inspired the movie. It is well worth the time taken to view these, also.

As many of you may have already guessed, I am a hopeless romantic. That being said, I find it hard to get excited about most of the "love stories" out there in movie land. However, on occasion, I am left grinning from ear to ear in romantic bli…

Facing Loss

Since my last post, I have had numerous encounters with friends and family suffering from various types of loss. It occurred to me that my post on grief might be continued or expanded at this time to cover what is "loss" and why do we grieve.

Loss is, according to the dictionary, "fact of losing or state of having been lost; that which is lost; defeat."

Perhaps it is my "cup-half-full" philosophy, but I see loss as more of a catalyst for change, than a defeat. Let me explain...

Within the past few years, three of my immediate family died. (My Mom, Dad and Brother) The loss of these family members has been the catalyst for awareness of how precious our time together is for many members of my family, including myself. Since these deaths, my relationship with a surviving brother and sister-in-law and several of my cousins has become closer.

It reminds me of the old Carter Family hymn, "Will the Circle be Unbroken," which talks about how difficult it…

The Grieving Process

I was sitting at the computer, scanning the poems I wanted to include in a proposed manuscript when I suddenly found myself in tears. The poem I had just read tore open the flood gates that I had so expertly closed over a year ago when the first of three of my immediate family died. As quickly as I began to cry, I found my self laughing at the preposterous fact that here I was sobbing over a poem I wrote myself!

As I reflected on the moment, I realized that I was finally allowing the process of grief to run its course. This was a natural and healthy reaction. It would be one that would repeat, but this was OK.

There are hundreds of sites dedicated to helping people understand the grieving process. Most of them agree that there are five distinct stages:

Denial and Isolation,
Depression, and
AcceptanceNo two people grieve at the same pace or experience all of the stages at the same time. It is imperative to understand that grief is a process, not a firm, solid, unmovin…

Two Pilgrims on the Path

In Leverett, Massachusetts there is a spot on top of a mountain that brings many a visitor. It is known as the Peace Pagoda. A large white concrete pagoda, the Peace Pagoda sits on land that is the home to a community of Buddhist nuns and monks.

Several times a year, Roger and I take the hike to the Pagoda. It is amazing just how calming the journey is. These are pictures of our most recent visit. The pictures are a journey unto themselves. Enjoy!

The pilgrimage begins

On the Path

At the top of the mountain, we come to the Peace Pagoda

Stopa between Pagoda and new temple

New temple under construction
(Old temple was destroyed in a fire several years ago)

About the new temple

As you travel around the Pagoda, there are four separate statues of Buddha

Repeating patterns around the Pagoda

The lily pond with remains of old temple

Stone bridge and prayer flags