Saturday, January 29, 2011

Poems of Love

As we start the month of February, I thought I would share with you all some poems of love written by me as well as a few of my favorites by others. 

by Linda M. Rhinehart Neas © 2010

Looking up from the reading,
Our eyes meet.

Muted whispers fade to white noise -
        colors swirl -
the beating of my heart
        syncs with yours.

I blink, taking off my glasses
        so that you will no longer be visible.

Too late! 

Your look is etched
        in my heart.

 by Linda M. Rhinehart Neas © 2010

Dancing around each other,
we denied what was obvious
   to everyone else.

Months past as we carefully
held ourselves in check -
unable to let go.

Finally, a life-line thrown,
     permission granted,
we now dance arm-in-arm

For Roger, who writes the music of my heart
by Linda M. Rhinehart Neas © 2009

The words sit on the edge of thought
waiting to appear on the page.

Some dive headlong,
         rushing to fill the blank space.
Several are lost to the eraser,
      while others are put aside for later use.

But, there are those who
wait with the patience 
of a thoroughbred,
     knowing the moment to shine
                 is only a breath away.

These words are placed deliberately,
         the other,
forming an expression of emotions -
feelings - which can only be created
by those who craft words 
in poems or
         songs or 
             declarations so beautiful,
                             so powerful, as to take
mere mortals breath away.

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
they're in each other all along.

From Essential Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks

I hide myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too --
And angels know the rest.

I hide myself within my flower,
That, fading from your vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me
Almost a loneliness.

by Emily Dickinson

Love poems have a significant place in our society.  We take them out and dust them off each February.  
I propose that we leave them out this year.  Post them where we can look at them daily.  Recite them aloud to our family and friends.  
Perhaps, this will help us remember that Love isn't relegated to on day a year.  Love is a way of life that is practiced 24/7.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Worn Path

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 26:  A speech by John F. K...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Fifty years ago, I was a tween enamored with our new president.  At age eleven, events in the world have the potential to shape your outlook on life. The words, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your county," informed my dedication to social justice and peace work.  It also informed my philosophy for life in general.
Ask not what your family can do for you, but what you can do for your family, or your church, or your school or your community.  After fifty years following a worn path to equality, peace, and justice, I have come to believe, to know that if we are ever to get to the end of the road, if are ever to enter the Promised Land, then it will be through thinking and doing for others.

Our leaders in Congress need to look at JFK's speech, actively listening to the words and applying them to their lives.  The US is being strangled by partisan politics.  Our senators and representatives have forgotten that they are in office not to represent their party, but to represent The People.  One does not have to be a member of any party to see that the citizens of the United States are struggling to live, let alone flourish. 

John_F_Kennedy_1964_Issue-5c.jpgImage via Wikipedia

If we want to continue to shine a light for the world, then we have to remember that Lady Liberty shines her light for all, not just the wealthy, the highly educated, or the completely healthy.  If we want to continue to lead the world in creative solutions, amazing art and profound literature, then we must bring the arts, critical thinking and creative pursuits back into our schools and communities.  If we want to have a society that is proud to stand before the world, then we must stop ignoring the disenfranchised, the fringe dwellers, and those without capital to fight the system.

At age eleven, I dreamed of a world where my grandchildren would live in peace with everyone.  Fifty plus years later, I continue striving to make that dream a reality; I continue to follow a worn path left by those who have gone before.  Won't you join me?
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

National Day of Service

Dr. Martin Luther King giving his "I Have...Image via Wikipedia

Long ago, I was taught that to give of yourself was the greatest gift a person could give. How fitting that we, as a nation, observe Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's National Day of Service during the liturgical season of Epiphany, a feast of giving.

Epiphany is a Christian observance that marks the time when the Magi found the infant, Jesus. They brought special gifts, believing as astrologers did in those days, that the new star they had found heralded the birth of a king.  

In learning the story of the Magi as a girl, I remember wondering about the juxtaposition of the lowly shepherds to the Wise Men from the East.  While it was quite splendid that the Wise Men were able to bring such amazing gifts as frankincense, myrrh and gold, it really wasn't that much of a sacrifice for them.  In comparison, the humble gift of lambs from the shepherds was much more precious.

I struggled, as a child, with making sense of the idea of "giving of yourself" until I heard the story of the Little Drummer Boy. In the story, the little child, who had nothing to give the new born infant, realizes that he can play his drum for him.  

Then I heard the beautiful song by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, which is based on Christina Rossetti's poem, "What Shall I Give Him."   The last line is, "Give him my heart."  

Giving from the heart is crux of the National Day of Service.  

Each of us can give from the heart on this day of service.  While there will be those who will serve through joining soup kitchens, giving out clothing to those in need of warm clothes, running blood drives or working to build homes for the homeless, there are others whose gifts will practically go unnoticed.  These are the gifts of a kind word, a door held, a hand given, a gentle touch or a simple smile.  These are all gifts we can give in service to others regardless of who we are or how much money we have.

May the dreams of the Rev. Dr. King come to fruition through the simple acts of service given on the National Day of Service and throughout the year ahead.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blizzard of 1978

Picture from the Blizzard of '78

I survived the blizzard of 1978. For those not old enough to remember, the blizzard hit the Northeast with a vengeance beginning February 5, 1978 and ending on February 7, 1978. 

I was pregnant with my first child at the time.  Staying in a tiny apartment nearly drove me crazy, so as soon as I could, I was out the door, waddling down the street. (Really, at 8+ months pregnant, I waddled...even looked like a penguin with a big gray overcoat just barely covering my tummy.)

What a joy it was to walk the streets with no traffic!  Everything was covered in crystal white snow.  The sounds were muted.  The air smelled clean and crisp.  It was an experience I will never forget.

Enchanted Cottage - January 2011

Yesterday, we had the first real Nor'easter of the year.  Over 18 inches of snow fell in less than 24 hours.  After spending yesterday watching the world turn white outside my window, I couldn't wait to get outside this morning.  

Neighbor's Barn in Snow - January 2011
As I walked through town, I remembered the blizzard of 1978 and how the following month my life changed forever when the first of my four daughters was over the past 30-plus years so many beautiful moments have stopped me in my tracks...and, how now as a grandmother of five, I still love walking in the early morning after a blizzard.


Mount Sugarloaf - January 2011

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

This Must Stop!

Angel of Grief

The news from Arizona of the past 24 hours has been so disheartening.  After listening to a commentary by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, I felt I must write.

Mr. Olbermann's commentary was an act of bravery the likes of which we haven't seen in many years.  His words are a call to all citizens of this great country to stop being stupefied by the drone of media that simply inundates us with negativity.  It is a call to all to stand up to those who believe that it is OK to "joke" about violence, or "kid" about hurting others.  


It is not OK to abuse others verbally.  It is not OK to allow others to abuse people mentally, physically, or verbally.  We ALL have the power to stop this form of domestic terrorism.

We have the power to tell advertisers and TV stations that we will not buy their products, or watch their channel if they continue to show news programs that condone hate, violence and abuse.  We have the power to tell our politicians, if they don't make a stand against abusive rhetoric, scare tactics, hateful mudslinging, then they will not get our vote.  We have the power to encourage others to stand with us against these crimes against innocent fellow citizens.  We HAVE THE POWER!

If we want the bullies out of our schools, we need to get them out of our pulpits, out of our town halls, out of our communities!  We have the power to say, "Enough is enough.  This ends now!"

Over ten years ago, after the murder of a dear friend's son from an assault with a handgun, I joined a group of mothers who matched through the streets of Portsmouth, NH to protest the lack of gun control in our country.  At that time, I found the inspiration to spontaneously move to the microphone to make this statement.

"Automatic weapons and handguns were created for one purpose and one purpose only...that is to kill human beings.  Hunters are against gun control because they believe it will infringe on their right to hunt with firearms. I do not believe this to be true. Automatic weapons and handguns are NOT used in the hunting of animals. Automatic weapons and handguns are for killing people.  The last time I checked, there was no hunting season for humans."

I still believe this statement to be true. 
We Must stop the violence. 
We Must have gun control. 
We Must stop the abusive rhetoric.  
We Must Do It Now!


Photo: By Marcusmoseley (Own work)  via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Time for...

Morning songImage by sarniebill1 via Flickr

A Time for Reflecting

As I took my daily walk this morning, I was overwhelmed by a sense of joy in listening to the birds sing their matins to the the sun as it rose above the mountainI immediately said a pray of my own in thanksgiving for the song and a petition for those who have suffered the horror and grief of finding dead animals in their communities.

Reflecting on this recent tragedy, it occurred to me that it is easy to fall victim to the constant assault by the media on the horror of the situation.  This realization is what spurred me on to write today. 

It is imperative that we remain strong during difficult times.  Remember, our thoughts are energy.  If we dwell on negativity, then our energy will be sapped.  We can keep our energy high by prayer, mediation, and exercise.  

While the mass death of birds and animals is tragic, it is not unique.  It has occurred over the millenniums, beginning with the dinosaurs.  I am not advocating that we all put on rose-colored glasses and pretend everything is wonderful.  What I am promoting is that we be wise in how we spend our energy and time over this.  

Each of us can make a positive difference in the world, whether it is by feeding the birds outside our homes, planting a tree, or lending a hand to another human.  Each positive thing we think and do brings a positive outcome that multiplies.

A Time for Recognition

Margaret Mead wisely told us to "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world."  

Edward Everett Hale told us, "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." 

The tiny woman with the huge heart known to the world as Mother Teresa advised, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." 

Finally, John Fitzgerald Kennedy is quoted as saying, “One person can make a difference and every person should try.”

There are many people who follow the sage advice offered here and elsewhere.  They are each beacons of light for others to follow.  I would like to recognize a few of these very special people, who have blessed my life as well as the lives of countless others around the world.

The Golden Heart Award

Heart pin by Bennett Graham. I am the designer...Image via Wikipedia

Maithri (pronounced "my three") Goonetilleke is an amazing healer of body, mind and spirit.  A doctor hailing from Australia, Maithri is also a prolific writer and sensitive poet with the voice of an angel.  He co-founded Possible Dreams International, a non-profit organization that aids the peoples of Swaziland.  Over the past several years, he has touched me with his dedication, tenacity, compassion and wisdom.  

You can find Maithri's writing at   Soaring Impulse.

The Silver Threads Award

Eliza Fayle is my kind of woman!  She is talented, intuitive, creative and outrageously or, (as we say in New England) "wicked" funnyI came across Eliza by accident one day as I was searching for information on caring for gray hair. Silver and Grace, her blog turned newsletter was a delightful find.  Not only do the articles in Silver and Grace appeal to women over 40, they also touch on subjects often found to be taboo, such as vaginal dryness.  I have been touched by the candor of her articles, the depth of her understanding and her ability to laugh at herself and the craziness of Life.

Silver and Grace is a treat I recommend highly!

The Bronze Rose Award
Bronze Rose IImage by CaDeltaFoto via Flickr   
I found Soul Meets World through my friend Maithri's site.  What a delight to read the writings of Alexys Fairfield!  Her thoughtful posts always give me something to ponder and cherish. In addition to amazing content, she has pictures that pull you in and leave you thinking.

Treat yourself, today - visit Soul Meets World!

A Time For Thanksgiving

As I begin the second week of this New Year, I want to take this opportunity to offer my thanks to all my readers.  Your kind and thoughtful comments enrich my life.  


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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Self Reflection

sunrise trail new years eveImage by paul+photos=moody via Flickr

It is day two of the New Year.  I am up before the sun on a gray winter's morn doing a bit of self-reflection on the past year.  As an optimist, my reflection is all about counting my blessings; however, I also want to take stock of what didn't work this year.

The highlights of the past year have been many.

  • My daughter, Kathleen was married.
  • My daughters, Gwendolyn and Courtney each gave birth, adding to our ever-growing family.
  • My daughter, Elizabeth moved back to New England.
  • Many friends and family visited the Enchanted Cottage.
  • My second book, Gogo's Dream: Swaziland Discovered was published.
  • I reconnected with several old friends via the internet.
  • My quest to become a minister of peace and justice through interfaith dialogue has moved forward.
Just a few of the things that have not worked for me include, being unemployed, being sick, and not being able to exercise.
As we enter 2011, I am determined to continue my self-reflection.  I will find a position that utilizes my gifts and talents.  I will build my health through continuing my new diet. I will continue to walk daily.

Self-reflection doesn't really work if you only look at the good stuff.  I learned that long ago.   It is what causes us to repeat the same mistakes over and over.  Who wants that?  Therefore, mindfully looking with a non-judgmental mind at what has past, seeing the lessons, learning from them, all helps us to grow.  By growing, we are better able to be to face the challenges presented us as we continue down Life's path.
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