Showing posts from 2017

The Time Has Come

Photo from Google Public Domain
There was a time in the history of this country when parents and teachers held up the president as an example to children. Presidents had qualities to be emulated. The family of the president was also worthy of imitation, the highest form of flattery. 

However, that was before the present administration. Now, parents fear turning on the news while children are in the room because they are not sure what words will be reported or, worse yet, spoken by the president. 

How do you explain to a child why hate, misogyny, bigotry, and poorly constructed sentences are falling from the lips of the person who is running our country? How do you justify the apparent inability to feel compassion for others? How do you defend the need to play golf when our neighbors are drowning, when their homes are burning, or when the earth opens up, swallowing everything whole? 

Worse of all, how do we explain as parents and teachers, who have trusted in the democratic system created …

30 Poems in November!

While summer and fall play tag with each other, it is difficult to think about November. However, the mid-autumn season of gratitude and poem-ing will soon be upon us.

Once again, I am taking up the challenge to write 30 Poems in November!  This is the major fundraiser for Center for New Americans were I teach English as a second language to adult immigrants and refugees. The event is community-based. Poets from 5 to 95 write poems everyday in November with others pledging their support for the writers. During December, there is a celebration at Smith College's Poetry Center, where poets read one of the poems they have written and attendees can sign up for copies of the anthology that is put together from poems written during November.

This year, I will be focusing my poems on the journey of the immigrants and refugees. I will write about their hopes, dreams, struggles, joys and pain.  I will write about my own family's journeys that make me a third generation American.

If you wo…

Summer's Finale

Summer days are getting shorter. The time for harvest will soon be upon us, along with the new school year, and a multitude of holidays. Seems like, this year, summer relaxation was usurped by the craziness of politics and the constant battle to keep peace and hope alive.

But, as I sit mid-afternoon, with the sun pouring warmth onto my desktop and the green smell of a garden resplendent in the full bloom brought by warm days with plenty of rain, I am grateful. 

Creator of all I see, hear my thanks.
Know that for each blossom I behold, 
for each tree I hug,
for each blade of grass that gently cups my foot,
I give thanks.

As the days diminish into autumnal splendor,
give me the grace to see the beauty in a garden gone by,
bless me with the faith to know that the magic of nature
is not always seen, but is always there.

Thank you, blessed Gardener, for the turn of the seasons and all they bring to us. 

Staying Positive

Many people ask how do I stay positive in times of utter despair. I have several tricks, but one that has yet to fail me is to spend time in my garden looking at the beautiful flowers.

I know many don't have gardens or access to them, so here is a photo journal of my time in the garden today.  Enjoy!

All Photos:  (c) 2017 Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

Finding Hope

An acquaintance and I met unexpectedly the other day. I had not seen her in months, maybe even years. We greeted each other with the kind of joy one has when this happens, instantly recalling the fun we had had long ago. Of course, as tradition dictates, I asked how she was doing. Suddenly, joy went nose-diving into a long spiral of negativity that began with the horrors of her job to the state of the nation. I attempted to raise the vibration of our discussion by pointing out the blessings that surrounded her and us, but to no avail.

So, what do we do when faced with hopelessness? How do we manage not to sink into the muddy hole of despair? Practice!

Being positive and upbeat is impossible all the time, make no mistake about it. But, with practice, you can continue to see the Light, even when traversing the darkest tunnel. Every storm has a silver-lining. Every dark night has stars that light the sky. The trick is not to focus on the darkness, which never really is gone; but rather, fo…

Father's Day Thoughts

Father's day is upon us and I am called to remember how blessed I am to have had my Dad in my life and in the life of my children.  But, it wasn't an easy journey, at first.

You see, Dad struggled for many years with alcohol. However, in my early teens, he gained sobriety and kept it for the remainder of his life. In the years that followed, I was blessed with a father who had great wisdom, great compassion and great love for me and all his children and grandchildren.  

There are things I remember Dad telling me that have shaped who I am today. Some of his most memorable quotes are:

"A nursing mother is the most beautiful sight in the world!"

"You are NOT fat, you are pregnant and beautiful!"

"Make do, do over or do without. You don't need all that sh.. anyway!"

"You can do anything you put your mind to doing. You're John Neas' daughter!"

Mostly, though, Dad led by example. He taught me to help others humbly by doing little kindness…


My Dad's Boot Camp Cohort - Great Lakes

John Henry Neas, Jr. 
My Dad survived WWII, returning home after the Japanese signed the surrender. He saw service in both sides of the globe.  First, in Normandy, and then in the South Pacific.
Dad didn't talk much about the war. Like most veterans of his generation, the stories didn't come to light until their elder years, and then, usually when around their shipmates and comrades in arms.
I've written before of the stories Dad told me. Some tear at your heart and others make you laugh. The photos below are of his last ship, the USS Hyman. This was the ship that he was aboard during the kamikaze attack in which he barely escaped death.  This is the ship where the surrender was signed for the small Pacific island of Pohnpei.
Pohnpei is where the missionary wife sewed an American flag under the noses of her Japanese captors, believing with all her heart that the allies would liberate the island. The flag was presented to the sailors o…

Spirited Tales

I have as a guest Rev. Teal L. Gray, N.D., who has recently released a new book, Spirited Tales. This book is an anthology of stories by several authors of whom I am honored to be included.  I wanted to share the book with you all, but also share more about Teal and why she wrote and compiled this book.

What do you say to people who wonder how a Christian Minister writes in the genre of Horror and the Paranormal? 

I explain that the Horror story defines good and evil very clearly for the reader, often as a cautionary tale. No other genre allows for spiritual and religious content more than horror. We all must navigate through this world and not everything or everyone is good or even honestly represented. You need to be knowledgeable about all the elements of the spirit world you are navigating through. 

You wouldn’t go on a hike in unknown territory without familiarizing yourself with what type of animals, insects, snakes, and weather it has there would you? 

I want people to put down the…

The Glass Half-full

(c) 2017 Linda M Rhinehart Neas

Today would have been my mother's 88th birthday. I began the day giving thanks for her and all the things that she taught me, knowingly as well as unknowingly. I have said many times that Momma put the "fun" in dysfunctional. The older I get the more I realize what a gift that was. 

You see, life was not easy for Momma or our family. There were multiple issues that constantly reared their ugly heads, sucking the joy out of life. However, Momma would do things during these dark times that showed us how to laugh in the face of adversity, grief, and pain.
For instance, I remember having a friend over for lunch when I was young. This had been planned for several days. However, Momma did have much in the house for food because Dad had not gotten paid. (I didn't know this until adulthood.) She never let on that there was an issue. Rather, she created a feast for me and my friend out of tomato soup, crackers with peanut butter and tea. What mad…

Contemplative Gardening

Spring has arrived at our corner of the world full of all the delights of verdant awakenings.  For the first time in weeks, I feel calm and balanced. Why?  I spent most of the afternoon in the garden.

Gardening is a contemplative practice. Like meditation, gardening empties the mind, allowing the gardener to open to Nature. When I garden, I get into the zone so completely that several hours will pass, and I will feel like I have only been outside for a short time.  The thing the really amazes me is that while my body will be tired, my mind is at rest. Honestly, I feel like I just woke from 10 hours of solid REM sleep.

Interestingly, I just read an article on "forest bathing" or shinrin-yoku. According to scientists, being outside with the trees and Nature is super beneficial to our health. Gardening has the same effet on us.

You can learn more at:

Contemplative Gardening

May the rebirth of Nature bring you peace and balance.  Blessings!


Albrecht Dürer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Over the past two and half months the feel of helplessness has washed over me in tidal waves. Like standing on the shore watching someone drown without the means to rescue them, I have been watching, as systematically, the things I hold true - education for all, care of the elderly and veterans, care for single mom's and children, justice, the Constitutional rights of all people - have been slashed, cut, stepped on, ignored, and violated. What to do?

My mind wanders back to a day, long ago. I was very young, but I understood that what was being shown in the news terrified me. I turned to my mother, saying what can we do? Her reply still echoes in my head, "When you think you can't do anything to help, you can always pray. Then, do something good for someone else."

This has been my practice over the years when life overwhelms me with horror and pain. I pray for change, then do what I can in my own small circle of the …

Joys of Spring

This past week, Roger and I went to the Smith College Bulb Show. What a treat! The burst of color as we opened the greenhouse door combined with the scents of spring immediately washed away the winter blues we were both feeling.

Words cannot express adequately how beautiful the show was, so I am posting pictures to enjoy.

Eagle Huntress

**** ADDENDUM ****
After I viewed this film, I did what I normally do - surf the web for information about the director, the movie, the actors, etc. Unfortunately, I didn't do this before I wrote my blog. Had I done so, I would have said that while this is a "true" story, there is a certain amount of question as to some of what we are led to believe.  Many thanks to Meghan Fitz-James for her comment and head's up.
I bring this up, not to discourage anyone from seeing the film, which is truly breathtaking, but so that those who do see it are aware that Aisholpan is not the first eagle huntress in the history of Mongolia. She may be the first in her own family, but eagle huntresses have over a 2,000 year history, according to Adrienne Mayor, Stanford University History professor.
I wish that the promoters of the film had done a better job at telling the truth behind the history. Women's history has been negated, twisted and ignored for far too long. Creating false imp…

Overcoming the Loss of a Loved One

Photo Credit: Upsplash
Today, I have the pleasure to share a guest blog with you from Jennifer Scott.  Jennifer has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager. With that, she shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder.

Welcome, Jennifer.  Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us all.


Overcoming the Loss of a Loved One: The importance of self-care amid your grief
Finding the strength to cope with the loss of someone you love is one of the greatest challenges life has to offer. The process takes time, and there’s no exact road map for which reactions or feelings you might have along the way. Everyone copes in their own unique way, and will need their own time to do so. You can, however, make the conscious effort to make self-care a priority during this particularly difficult time. 

What is self-care? Exactly what it sounds like: making the conscious effort to take care of your own needs. It comes in many forms, but it can be a…

Freedom Isn't Free

Signing of Armistice Aboard the USS Hyman Off the Coast of Pohnpei
Photo Credit: (c) 1945 John H. Neas, Jr. 
Over 70 years ago, my father stood aboard his ship as World War II ended. He and his shipmates had liberated the island of Pohnpei. There was a story he told about the landing that still rings in my ears each time talk turns to the ideals of freedom, liberty and justice for all.
On the island, the Japanese controlled everything.  The Etscheit's, who owned a coconut grove, were placed into an internment camp. Carlos and Simmone Etscheit had three daughters, Yvette, Renee and Monique. In the evenings, the Simmone sewed scraps of material together in what appeared to be patchwork quilts.

On the day that the USS Hyman liberated the island, the three sisters ran to the beach with their mother and father waving their mother's handiwork. Under the noses of their guards, Simmone had sewn together a US and Belgian flag. She believed with all her heart that one day, the allies would l…

I'm with Her

Public Domain

Through the ages, poets have kept hope alive by fearlessly recording in verse the histories of people and events. They have put into words the pain and glory of cultures. Their words singing in the annals of time.
As a child, I learned more history from poetry than I did from history books. Something about a poem made the facts come alive for me. Verses from poems like Paul Revere's Ride and Old Ironsides stuck in my head.
For my children and my children's children, I write these words, inspired by signs I saw on January 21, 2017 at the Women's March in Washington, DC (and around the world):
From the four winds, they called us to rise from our sleep and comfort, to rise from our work and pain.
Mother Liberty and Mother Justice called to us to raise our voices against iniquity, to raise our voices for freedom for all.
From the four directions, they called us to come together, hand in hand, to come together in peace.
Mother Justice called to us to march for t…

On Being an American

Photo Credit: Google Public Domain Photo
Ten years ago, when I began this blog, I explained that as a writer and educator words had power - the power to heal, the power to raise up and the power to destroy. Over the past year or more, the rhetoric that has been loosed in this country has become increasingly hateful, damaging and destructive. The power behind the words used in the press, in politics and in every day life comes from the privilege of being American. Yet, many of the same people claiming to be "true" Americans have never read the two documents this country is based on, nor do they know the men who wrote the words that we live by.

The Declaration of Independence is a work of fearless resistance by a committee of five Founding Fathers - Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, John Adams and Robert R. Livingston. Thomas Jefferson is considered the architect of this document. A talented writer, Jefferson was influence, like all writers, by the words of oth…