Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Editor's Corner

April 2015

Shall always remember the month of April as one of your editor's best schooltime friends was born the 2d. Phyllis married first and ended up living back in the little town in Missouri she was born in. When the tornado hit there a few years back, she had already succumbed to breast cancer, passing away a couple days from my sister Jacqui's friend, Lois. One thing we are making progress in is finding cancer earlier and offering a few options for handling it. That's the good word today.

To honor cancer survivors, the pic at bottom of this column is from one of my beautiful great granddaughters, Alyssa Wadford.

She explains the pic this way, "Softball pinkout game 2015. Released 2 balloons, one for my Great Grandma Mary Elizabeth Adair and one for Debra Blount. These girls in the pic here are the sisters I have always wanted��"

Nancy Park's "Mind, Body & Spirit Connection" shares a virtual tour of ethereal experiences. Judith Kroll aka Featherwind's column "On Trek" discusses "old scripts/new scripts" and we are the actors.
Thomas F. O'Neill ("Introspective") warns of the addiction of the internet. Mattie Lennon ("Irish Eyes") has a warning too. His concerns "The Unsigned Letter."

John I. Blair's column "Always Looking - People Who Made A Difference XXVIII" is about a brilliant person's short but eventful and memorable life: James Joseph Reeb. Blair's three poems are "Grackle," "Possum," and "Tall."

Phillip Hennessy sent along "It's a Good Day Today" which is rather deep. His other poem is "Compassion's a Cycle." Phil has recently been seeing more of his songs chosen by various groups/bands and recorded. He has several songs on YouTube, and we will try to put a link here for you. If you were reading last holiday season, one of his poems was set to music, sung by a choir, and used as a national fund raiser to help poor children in Great Britain. Here is a link Love Is Here .
Bud Lemire has one poem this month: "The Tree." Heard thru the facebook grapevine that he's been under the weather! Get well soon, Bud!

Bruce Clifford's two poems are "So Tired of You" and "It's Taking Me a Long Time." Mattie Lennon adds a parody (of a 'more severe' poem by a different author) which he wrote for the Literary Festival by the same name, "Doneraile."

On our old server we featured a section for Serials. One of those was written for the nieces and nephews of Rebecca Morris. There are several chapters that did not make the transfer over to the new server and with Rebecca's permission we are presenting them again with the first chapter "The Beginning" of "The Adventures of Ollie-Dare" in this issue. Share these with your little ones.

The current genealogist researcher in our family is my sister Melinda (Carroll) Cohenour. This month she shares her excitement and delight in compiling memories and tales in the article
"Charles “Napa Charley” Hopper - The Ancestor whose Adventures Sparked my Interest in Genealogy."

Again we thank Mike Craner for his expertise and patience that allows this little ezine to present over 400 different authors over the last seventeen years, with their compositions of story, poetry, articles, and ongoing columns.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

On Trek

Old scripts/New Scripts

         Picture life as a giant Broadway play. From the day each person is born, the play starts. We become stars the minute we are born. And as our life progresses we continue in the play, but we tend to change roles..

         We are understudies until we become adults...

         And once we are adults, how we did as understudies decides what role we will have in the play of life.

         Will we write the script? Will we direct the script? Will we be one of the actors that function by the lines and rules of everyone?

         Or will we be behind the scenes, making props, and fixing lights, and as our role is important, we have no visible part., unless our name appears in the program way down at the bottom someplace, Only noticeable by friends and family.

         It is now time for an audition. Up to this point we were actors, and behind the scenes players, but now its time to audition for the director’s job.

         To be in control of how this play, our life, comes out we would need the director’s job. We would need to make the moves without fear and repercussions. We need to evaluate where we are and what is needed to move forward.

         Many times we are bounded by the rules of others, and therefore are afraid to step one foot outside the boundaries. We are afraid to make a move without permission.., because if we do, and it’s wrong, we will be ridiculed and it will be called to our attention forever more.

         Sometimes we need to get someone else’s thoughts instead of our own because we don’t trust ourselves. We thus come across as indecisive.

         Old programs, from an old play are held in esteem by many. They put them in photograph folders, or keep them in a neat pile inside a desk for safe keeping. They are reminders and they have some good meaning and memories at times, but we also remember the bad that was associated with the old programs.. We say oh well, but we still manage to get hot under the collar and red with embarrassment when we recall our blunders..

         We tend to forget the blunders of the other players, but we cannot seem to let go of the blunders we ourselves made. We can forgive others of their little faults, but oh heavens not our own.

         Remember the time we rolled the car into the garage, and scraped the side of the car? We cursed our self-till we were blue in the face, and we still shake our imaginary fingers at ourselves because that was a costly, stupid, uncalled for mistake…

         When Our neighbor did the same thing, we said, well you know, it is a hard angle to maneuver into, and the sun does shine hard thru that window, and quit being so hard on yourself, it is really ok.. No one was hurt. , etc. etc. etc.

         What happens when we are around someone who won’t let us forgive ourselves, by constantly bringing it up, saying how stupid we are, and not capable of driving at all, and leave the car out in the driveway, they will put it in the garage for us, as we are not ready for such a big responsibility..

         If they can’t forgive us, then certainly we cannot forgive ourselves, because we are never given an opportunity to do so.

         Now if that same person did scrape the car coming into the garage, it is funny how they can laugh it off, and say oh well, and drop the subject, and heaven help you if you say ONE WORD ..Or even dare to call them stupid, and not capable. etc.

         Something wrong with this picture..

         How do we gain our control back? How do we become directors in our own life?

         How many times do we see someone we know who seem to know what they want, what they are doing, and totally in control of their lives, and having a blast living it? We think, wow I wish I was like that, how wonderful!

         Well, the secret is, we know then, what it means to have control.., so who then would be stopping us from becoming our own director, in our own play of life?

         Our mates? We can say that.. Our kids? We can say that. , Friends, relatives? Or, could it be we are stopping ourselves because we allow others to tell us what to do..??

         A good quote I heard once is, ” We teach folks how to treat us.” Think about that for a few.

         Now is the time to write our own scripts.

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Irish Eyes

The Unsigned Letter

Anonymity represents for many people
a liberating even more than a threatening phenomenon.

-- Harvey Cox.

         Not all anonymity is free of threat. Most people have received anonymous communications at some stage. Be it a Valentine card from a shy admirer or a Christmas card that the sender had forgotten to sign. And in more recent times there is the occasional baffling text or email. There is of course the more malicious anonymous letter usually sent by the cowardly and insecure who often tend to be inconsequential people of little importance to the addressee. The senders of such letters usually have a chip on the shoulder. It may be a begrudging colleague whose own life is not satisfying, and they may have recently been disinherited and/or rejected. One source says, “These letters seem to be a cry of the powerless from persons who have lost the ability to speak their mind and have been pushed to the limit of their understanding and patience.”

         One expert in the field wrote,
“From my own observations, these writers are sick individuals. Within their makeup there is a weak streak which is inter linked with dishonesty and anyone who writes anonymously, even though purporting to have the receiver’s welfare at heart, has a problem. “

         According to, ‘Judicial Graphology, by Renna Nezos, “that personality is socially maladjusted and he/she suffers from a feeling of persecution and excessive jealousy.”
The following motivating characteristics of the anonymous letter-writer are put forward by an expert;
  • Jealousy.
  • Envy.
  • Malice and Spite.
  • Revenge.
  • Sexual Frustration.
  • Inner feelings of personal inadequacy, which fuels a desire to cause suffering.
  • The urge to wield influence.

         That anonymous letter you got could be from a shy retiring admirer or a forgetful acquaintance who neglected to put their name to it. It could be from a well-meaning person who wanted to put you wide to some treachery without getting involved. But . . . it could be more sinister. Anybody who has read, “ 10 Strange Mysteries Involving Anonymous Letters” knows that the unsigned missive is very often the hallmark of a psychopath. Jack the Ripper and The Zodiac Killer are just two examples.

         The anonymous letter that arrived in your letterbox may be from an innocent person but it could also be from a coward who, in the words of one psychologist , “ . . . is using a power hold over the selected victim. From the feeling of power comes an inner sense of superiority, as real or imagined developments are anticipated. The correspondence may be planned with care, to hit the target and then retreat into hiding to await the results; or it may be the outcome of supposed slights and resentful feelings that have been festering over a period of time. The reaction is triggered by sending a threatening letter.”

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Always Looking – People Who Made A Difference XXVIII

Rev. James Reeb

         James Joseph Reeb (1927-March 11, 1965) was a minister, social worker, and civil rights activist. His brutal murder by segregationists while participating in the second Selma to Montgomery march made him one of the martyrs of the American civil rights movement of the 1960s. Born in Wichita, Kansas, he grew up in Kansas and Wyoming as his father followed his job working for an oil drilling tool company. Though he was a sickly boy, he was a good student. During high school in Casper, Wyoming, he also developed his social ideals, which recognized the need to improve the lives of the poor and help those denied their full human rights. As a student he enjoyed football and debate. He joined the ROTC and was soon made its commander. Summers he worked in a filling station or as a laborer at a local air base.

         James was a committed Christian. With frequent family moves, he attended churches of various denominations, eventually settling on Presbyterian. “I cannot remember a time,” Reeb wrote, “when I wasn’t in church on Sunday, nor can I remember a time when I haven’t studied the Bible . . . Just before leaving high school I made my decision to enter the ministry.” Reeb joined the Army upon graduation, even though the Second World War was almost over. When he was honorably discharged eighteen months later, in December 1946, his rank was Technical Sergeant, Third Class.

         After the army he went back to school, first at Casper Junior College, then St. Olaf College, a Lutheran evangelical school in Northfield, Minnesota. Taking summer courses, he got his A.B. cum laude in June 1950. Later that summer he married Marie Helen Deason from Casper who he had first met at Casper Junior College. They had four children.

         In autumn of 1950, Reeb entered Princeton Theological Seminary. He received his B.D. in June 1953 and was ordained at the First Presbyterian Church of Casper. Rather than seek a church, Reeb accepted the position of Chaplain to Hospitals for the Philadelphia Presbyter at the Philadelphia General Hospital. This interest in pastoral counseling had developed during his days at the seminary. In 1955 he earned an S.T.M. in the field of Pastoral Counseling. His experience as a chaplain made him more aware, as his biographer Duncan Howlett pointed out, of “the stark realities of life.”

         In high school, Reeb was a traditional Bible-centered Christian; but during college his religious views slowly evolved toward a more liberal understanding of Christianity. He wrote in 1956, “I have clearly progressed in my views until I am much more of a humanist than a deist or theist.” This eventually led him to Unitarianism. A friend had given him Today’s Children and Yesterday’s Heritage by Sophia Fahs. In her book Fahs described the approach she and others followed as they created a modern religious education program for the American Unitarian Association (AUA) during the 1930s and 1940s. Their religious philosophy matched Reeb’s. As a result, after several conferences with Harry Scholefield of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, he resigned his Presbyterian Chaplaincy in March 1957, and contacted the American Unitarian Association about transferring his fellowship from Presbyterian to Unitarian.

         During the five years it took to process this request, Reeb took a job where he could work closely with Philadelphia’s poor. He served as youth director of the West Branch Y.M.C.A., 1957-1959. When the Unitarians gave him preliminary fellowship he accepted an offer from All Souls Church, Unitarian, in Washington, D.C. to assist Duncan Howlett, their minister. His primary responsibility was to manage the church’s youth program. His openness, friendliness, and ability to be a mediator were just the characteristics needed in this position. He also worked directly with young people and engaged in pastoral counseling. He was assistant minister from 1959-63; and associate from 1963-64.

         Jim Reeb’s concerns and activities soon moved to the larger community. He supported various Unitarian Universalist groups, including the College Centers Committee, the Greater Washington, D.C. Federation of Liberal Religious Youth, the Board of the Joseph Priestley District and the Middle Atlantic States Ministers' Association. He was just as engaged with organizations seeking to address the social problems of the Washington, D.C., area such as the Interfaith Ministers Group, the Conference on Community Relations, Parents Without Partners, the Committee on Citizen Housing and especially the University Neighborhoods Council.

         The one thing Reeb did not do as an assistant minister was preach on a regular basis. He decided he wanted a church of his own in a racially mixed inner city neighborhood where he would be responsible for preaching in addition to counseling, community outreach, and program management. When he could not find a suitable congregation, he accepted the directorship of The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Metropolitan Boston Low Income Housing Program in 1964. The family moved to Boston, Massachusetts and purchased a house in Roxbury, an area of the city where many African Americans lived. His daughter Anne recalled that her father “was adamant that you could not make a difference for African-Americans while living comfortable in a white community.”

         The Reebs joined the Arlington Street Unitarian Universalist Church where Jack Mendelsohn, a social activist, was the minister. Reeb also continued his membership in the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association and remained in communication with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Department of Ministry. In January, 1965, he joined the UUA Commission on Religion and Race. At the AFSC, Reeb and his staff worked to alleviate the housing problems of the poor by getting the city to enforce its housing code. This eventually led to the creation of the Boston Housing Inspection Department. On the state level, they worked with the American Jewish Congress to enact laws to protect the rights of tenants.

         But Reeb's work in Boston was interrupted by national events. On Sunday, March 7, 1965, 500 civil rights marchers in Alabama attempted to walk from Selma to Montgomery and were brutally beaten and gassed by state troopers and local police. On Monday, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in Boston received a telegram from Martin Luther King, Jr., calling for ministers and people of all faiths to come to Selma to support the marchers. By the next day, 45 Unitarian Universalist ministers and 15 UU laypersons had answered King's call and journeyed to Selma. Jim Reeb was one of those who answered.

         On Tuesday afternoon he joined 2,500 marchers for the second march from Selma to Montgomery. Once again, the police stopped them and once again the marchers returned to Browns Chapel A.M.E. Church for speeches, singing and prayers. That evening Reeb had supper with two Unitarian Universalist colleagues, Orloff Miller and Clark Olsen, at Walkers Cafe, a local black restaurant. He had planned to return to Boston that night, but changed his mind. He called his wife to say he was staying one more day. Leaving the cafe to return to Browns Chapel, the trio took a wrong turn and strayed from a black neighborhood into a white neighborhood. Outside the Silver Moon CafĂ© four men viciously attacked and beat them. Miller and Olson were wounded while Reeb took a severe blow to his skull from a club. He died two days later.

         A memorial service was held in Selma on Monday, March 15. Over one hundred Unitarian Universalist ministers and another one hundred laypersons, as well as the UUA Board of Trustees attended. At the service Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the eulogy. King said in part: “He was a witness to the truth that men of different races and classes might live, eat, and work together as brothers.”

         That evening President Lyndon B. Johnson spoke to a joint session of Congress on behalf of his proposed voting rights act. In his speech he stated that at Selma “long-suffering men and women peacefully protested the denial of their right as Americans. Many of them were brutally assaulted. One good man—a man of God— was killed.” He then urged Congress to outlaw all voting practices that denied or abridged “the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” Despite opposition from some in Congress, and the nation, the landmark act passed and on August 6, 1965, Johnson signed it.

         When Reeb had applied for Unitarian ministerial fellowship he wrote, “I want to participate in the continuous creation of a vision that will inspire our people to noble and courageous living. I want to share actively in the adventure of trying to forge the spiritual ties that will bind mankind together in brotherhood and peace.” That he did.
Adapted and abbreviated by John I. Blair from the Article by Alan Seaburg at James Joseph Reeb
Blair adds this personal note: I usually omit details about a subject’s religious affiliation in these bios, but in this case it’s an important part of the story.

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Below:Memorial Plaque

Mind, Body, & Spirit Connection

Nancy's Mind Ramblings ~ Tuning in to "Synchronicity"~the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection

Ethereal Experiences

'Celestial' - 'Heavenly' - 'Unworldly' - 'Spiritual'

- lacking material substance: immaterial, intangible
- marked by unusual delicacy or refinement
- suggesting the heavens or heaven
- bodiless, immaterial, formless, incorporeal, insubstantial, nonmaterial,
nonphysical, spiritual, unbodied, unsubstantial

         These are various descriptions from Webster’s that relate to that which can be experienced through meditation and can also within dreams where we can access knowledge and understanding on a subconscious level to incorporate into our journey. These experiences are often blissful in nature, encompassed by unsurpassed beauty and always with a sense of how completely we are loved and that we are never on this journey alone. The edges of these experiences are often soft, glittering, without the refinement we are used to in the physical. More muted with softer colors, hence referred to as 'dreamy' as they are so different from the constraints we create here within this illusion.

         For example, you may find yourself wandering perhaps in a beautiful garden, a natural setting of some kind, maybe even a cathedral like setting where you feel an overwhelming sensation of there being so much more than what we experience in the physical sense. I believe these are reflective of what is more our true nature, than that which we think of within 'physicality' as being 'reality'. Perhaps they are meant to answer our deepest questions, often unconscious, particles of the higher self, which instinctively knows there is so much more to our being incarnated, that what is perceived here. Within these experiences we are released from the prison of constructions we create, we more naturally can reach beyond the confines of this world and enter the ethereal or astral reality from which we come, which is home. You are 'mystified', which is the perfect definition of the term.

         The details within these can often be soft, not sharply delineated. They are most often accompanied by a deep and abiding sense of complete love and the presence of what you could call 'spirit'. Sometimes clear, often softly perceived, you may even have the sensation of an entity of some kind, a loved one perhaps, even a deity within your belief system. It is often the case that the communication within these periods is not verbal in the sense that we are spoken to, but rather a communication that softly enters our awareness, imparting understandings we may have asked for, for guidance, or wisdom that is meant to assist us at this point in our journey.

         Perhaps what you see is a path that winds softly upwards, towards what appears to be a hill or mountain top where, upon arrival, you observe in the distance a circular building made of stone. From where you are you can see what appears to be a city, nestled in a valley, glowing within a soft white mist, circular buildings that are completely aglow with a brilliant light.

         Upon looking within the center of this place, you observe the largest building within the center of the other smaller dwelling-like buildings. There are many pillars which hold an enormous rounded roof and from within, it seems to glow and beckon you in a welcoming, loving way. This feels oddly familiar. Something resonates about this place you aren't quite able to place. The light which shines from this building completely surrounds this entire area as if it is lit by a million lights above and below. There is a circular pattern to this community of smaller but alike dwellings, each pathway lit softly by lights. As you approach the building within its center, you see a large doorway and beside the door you see a tall being shimmering with light. You become aware of a light which comes from what appears to be the heart of this being, a tether of warm green energy, surrounded and encompassed by a white light that now reaches warmly out to you, extending the light, connecting with your own heart chakra. You are remarkably calm and accepting of this, completely without fear, as if it is an almost forgotten greeting. This being is without form as we know it, but tall and nearly transparent, and silently invites you to enter. As you approach the being, you are filled with complete love and understanding and without hesitation; you enter the large glass doors. You are deeply aware of a sense of being welcomed home once again.

         You enter a circular rotunda with marble floors and columns which support the large glowing dome. You now see that from the rotunda, there is a circle of many doors each with a being of light standing beside the door. Your guide who entered with you silently lets you know there is knowledge, just for you, beyond whatever door you choose. One door among them seems to glow with colors that attract you towards it. Your guide conveys to you to proceed with whatever your soul is choosing. As you approach the door, you notice the sentinel who guards your door feels very familiar to you and again you feel welcomed home. Again nearly transparent, the sentinel glows with a soft light and what appears to be long, flowing white robes of some kind, radiating once more, a complete sense of unconditional love. Welcomed by this being, the doors are open to you and you enter yet another rotunda, but this rotunda, seemingly as large as the first, is just for you. Upon the walls, which soar to the top of the dome, you see rows and rows of what appear to be rolled scrolls. Cubicles stacked one upon the other, filled with carefully preserved scrolls rise and tower towards the ceiling of the dome. The sentinel guides you to the center of the room where there is a large rectangular island, topped with marble and upon this island, there is a book which lay open, the pages of which seem fragile and thin as if lifetimes are within their delicate pages. You know whatever is there, is something just for you.

         You review now page upon page written for and by you, over your lifetimes. Chronicled are all the parts of your journeys, all the players and choices, your guides and companions in spirit. Images of remembrance appear within your mind as you are now able to recall past experiences, choices made, paths not taken. You feel suddenly flooded with a resonance of who you really are, scene after scene plays out before you, events and circumstances which have shaped your chosen journey. Some seem burdensome, painful, overwhelming, others warm and filled with poignant feelings of gratitude and love, but as you progress with your review, you see the deep value they have held for your chosen experience and you are grateful for each one as you incorporate their lessons consciously into your awareness. A newer appreciation grows within for what you have previously perceived as challenges and overwhelming life experiences. You see where you had chosen them, and for what purpose. You resonate now, with what the higher self seeks for the soul and realize that within these pages you can find what it is you seek and you understand it is there for you whenever you feel drawn to answers on your journey. You review these pages and glean what it is your soul has desired to understand. You remain within your hall without thought of time or reality. It is as if you have found your origin, the place from which you departed so long ago and are reluctant to leave this place of truth and love. Within this hall, these loving beings of light, the sentinels of our experiential existence, are the caretakers of the evolution of the soul.

         Whatever your beliefs, albeit deities, guides, angelic presence etc., (as we so often feel the need to delineate the existence of these here on earth) these beings of light, as are we, are all part of us and lovingly journey with us in what is their chosen path. They stand by stoically, lovingly, completely without judgment over eons of what we consider 'time' and carefully assist in chronicling the soul's experience.

         When you have completed your review of the pages laid out for you, the sentinel guides you again to the door; silently imparting they are always there for you. You turn to review the room once again; the story of your soul's journey, knowing there is openness to your soul's choices and answers whenever you desire, as well as chosen purpose for each portion of your journey. A peace you've never felt now deeply resonates within you.

         You once again enter the outer rotunda and are greeted with great love by the being of light who guards the entrance. Again, wordlessly, conveys to you happiness at feeling your presence, reassuring you of great love and guidance. You are aware you will once again be in this place and communicate silently your gratitude for this visitation.

         You exit and begin down the path again, turning to see the beauty of this ethereal place of bliss and love, with soft edges, filled with the warmth of loving light, complete with infinite possibilities, knowledge and love.

         This 'hall' contains as many rotundas are there are souls -- each one carefully held and cared for regardless of whether the soul chooses to acknowledge and/or experience this place, for each incarnation carries with it, its own specific understanding of what it is we seek to know. For some it may not be of great value to seek for the soul. By design, it is completely the discretion of the soul as to whether or not the journey is 'spiritual' in nature, or if the soul chooses to remain 'asleep'. Regardless, the soul's journey is catalogued and upon return home, the soul can then avail itself, if it so chooses, of the value of the recent life.

         Whatever it is that helps you release this illusion and reconnect to your higher self, to help your mind remain open to infinite possibilities and your soul on a path that enhances your journey, there is so much more available to us than the minute world we see and experience beyond this physical existence, beyond towards the ethereal. Meditation can easily take you there, and with practice, you can also become what is referred to often as a 'lucid' experience, where you are present in that moment, interacting, questioning and finding what it is you seek, by being open to quieting the mind and letting in, what awaits you. Journal your dreams, in time you may also find threads of meaning there. The line between what we see and the ethereal is limited only by our inability to remain open to releasing previously held beliefs and constructs, and mindfully looking within.

         You may or may not resonate with what was actually an ethereal experience for me. So many experiences have come to me upon my journey which open further doors for me, releasing and replacing what we normally think of as what 'reality' is and keeping me on a journey to that hall, that open door and the 'story' that is mine.

         Have a most blessed journey.


Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.