Monday, December 1, 2014

Editor's Corner

December 2014

“The distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion...however persistent." --Albert Einstein.

That rings very true during this season between Halloween and New Year's when so many holidays fall into place. It is near impossible to not recall, relish pleasant memories, discussing them with visiting family members. In truth, why should those memories be dismissed? They remind of happy times, learning moments like first riding the first bicycle that Santa brought you or even better - your child, or the time the cake fell but was a rousing success filled with ice cream and bourbon flavored whipped creme. All these recollections strengthen the bonds that pull family members together, blessing each with a glow of shared moments that transcend the daily humdrum and somehow viewed from the present achieve the significance of a miracle. Perhaps it is not coincidental that memories and members (of family or various groups) begin with the melodious mmm_mmmm sound of contentment.

Our wish for your memories is that they are blessed with love and understanding, forgiveness and tenderness. Keep them.

Phillip Hennessy tells us his Poem..."Precious" on Pencilstubs in Sept 2013, like many of his poems, has become a song. It is also called "Precious" and here is a link to play the Video "PreciousDuet-1 on www.youtube.com:  Precious As time goes by, do we ever wonder, have we been through this before..? And I don't know why, but I'm often thinkin', have I ever missed you more.. ... .
 Phil adds "This is me playing guitar, and my friends, Daz, and Kyra singing."

Bud Lemire shows seven poems for December: "Lighten Up with Laughter," "Depression," "Soul Personality," "Knowing Cancer," "Sing Out A Song," "This Kind of Love," and "Tying Up Loose Ends." Jeremiah Raber submitted "Bring Me The Key" and "Down on My Knees." Bruce Clifford shares "I Won't Return" and "Latitude of Our Time."

John I. Blair sent us "Not Alone," "Keiffers," and "I Cling to Life." His column "Always Looking - People Who Made A Difference XXIV" highlights the accomplishments of Arthur Oncken Lovejoy.

Mattie Lennon of Dublin, discusses the famous Walter O'Brien, whose life is the inspiration for the new TV series "Scorpion" in "Irish Eyes," and Thomas F. O'Neill, who teaches in China, tells how the average Chinese citizen regards Buddhism and other religions in "Introspective." Peg Jones in her retiring "Angel Whispers" brings tips to lessen stress during the holidays with advice from the Angels. Peg is leaving us to focus more on her career which will see her offering more classes to help others learn angel communication.

We welcome Andrea Heisler back this month with a timely recipe in the "Cookin' With" column. Andrea is the first grandchild of the late Leo C. Helmer. He would have enjoyed this special treat she features.

Don't miss the story section with chapter 8 with Lexi explaining the miraculous things her whiskers do for her.
Thanks to Mike Craner and his expertise, this little ezine has been able to present over 400 different authors over the last seventeen years, bringing their compositions of story, poetry, articles, and ongoing columns. He developed the blog version which offers a different format for viewers and can be found at www.pencilstubs.net. Merry Christmas, Mike.

In observance of the Christmas season, here is the link to one of your editor's poems. Tiny Miracle .

Look for the January issue of Pencil Stubs Online. Compositions are accepted throughout the period from publication through December 26th. If you'd like to do a regular column, send your suggestion and let's get you into action.

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This issue appears in the ezine at www.pencilstubs.com and also in the blog www.pencilstubs.net with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

Irish Eyes

The Genius from Clonroche

When I decided to write this piece I emailed Scorpion Computer Services.com
Almost immediately I received a phone call from the head man, who set it up. I knew he wasn’t a nine-to-five guy when he told me that he was speaking from LA and that it was 2AM. I was talking to Walter O’ Brien.

39 year old Walter grew up in Clonroche, County Wexford, so why is he the subject of Scorpion, a prime-time TV drama in the United States?

Well, Walter has an IQ of 197 (Einstein’s was 175.) Guess who the TV series Scorpion is based on? “ . . . eccentric genius forms an international network of super-geniuses to act as the last line of defence against the complicated threats of the modern world.” When a journalist asked the producer of Scorpion why so much money was been invested in this high IQ Wexfordman he was told, “Walter personally caught the Boston Marathon bombers. This makes for compelling television.” Elyes Gabel plays O’Brien.

But back to Clonroche. When Walter was nine years old he got his first computer, an Amstrad. He learned everything there was to know about the computer in three days. “I didn’t eat or sleep for three days. I just took the computer apart.” Brian Flood, Principal, Courtnacuddy NS, where Walter was a pupil told me, “. . . the school community is very proud of his success. “

At the CBS in Enniscorthy he was, needless to say, a pupil apart. He points out that he was useless at hurling. Something unusual for a Wexford man but perhaps like many people of superior intellect, he saw sport as not being very important. Teachers didn’t always know how to deal with his many questions and things took a dramatic turn when he was thirteen. He had been hacking into the systems of some of the world’s largest and most powerful institutions, including NASA.

He was recently asked about it by Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show. He replied “There are things I can’t talk about”. But Tubbs managed to extract, “Yes, I got into a bit of trouble for hacking.” However, if you make a few discreet enquiries around Clonroche or Ballymachessy you will be told that one day when the young teenager arrived home from school, there were a number of formidable men from the USA there to arrest him. And what happened next? According to a Clonroche native, “Young O ‘Brien reached into his schoolbag and took out a prepared extradition waiver and told his visitors that if they signed it he would show them the inadequacies in their system.“

Colonroche: 1
USA: nil.
At 16 he was ranked first in national high speed computer problem solving competitions. Two years later he competed in the World Olympics in Informatics and has ranked as high as the sixth fastest programmer in the world. When he was in his mid-twenties, the United States Department of Homeland Security certified Walter as being of National Interest to the United States economy and granted him an Extraordinary Ability EB 1-1 Visa (also granted to Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill).

His team is now a think- tank for hire that provides intelligence on demand as a concierge service for funded challenges through ConciergeUp.com. Since 1988, this team of world class experts partner with clients on a global basis, across industries, to add real measurable value in mission-critical initiatives from planning, to execution, to running the business. Scorpion's senior management has a collective knowledge of more than 413 technologies, 210 years in IT, and 1,360 projects. Walter himself has created over 177 unique technology inventions.

Walter O'Brien


He is a very modest man. He wouldn’t bother mentioning that he met the Queen in October and when a journalist asked him how he rescued a young female journalist, detained in Libya, two days after she was arrested. He said, ”Oh, we partnered with the largest private military group in the US . . .”

The man from Clonroche points out that although he has an IQ which is the fourth highest ever recorded he has a very low EQ (Emotional Quotient.) This means that he is not diplomat material. Despite the fact that he is 22 points higher than Einstein on the Cattel scale he would be inclined to answer honestly if a female asked if her posterior looked large in a particular garment. I’m not sure if he agrees with my own opinion that such a lack of hypocrisy is an asset; I happen to believe that the world would be a better place if more people had low EQs and there was more frankness and honesty and consequently more people to enable us to see ourselves as God sees us. He does admit that dating was always difficult for him; I’m not suggesting that he ever said “you don’t sweat much for a fat girl” but I know what he means. However, he stresses that in this area his own “filter is broken” but emotional intelligence can be learned.

Perhaps he agrees with Euripides that geniuses ,” . . .pay a high price for being intelligent, wisdom hurts” but he doesn’t only employ geniuses at Scorpion Computer Services, he also recruits high EQ people who teach the geniuses how to behave as “humans.” So there you have it.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE




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Cookin'With Andrea - Leo's Granddaughter



Quick December Treat

We all need incentive from time to time, so when you are calling in help from family (likely) and/or friends (you know those times) for help, make it a party, more fun than chore. One way to do this is by having snacks ready to fortify the crew, whether it is putting up the tree, hanging the outside lights, or sorting and putting together the stocking stuffings, or you name it. 

Andrea Heisler, the first grandchild of the late Leo C. Helmer, offers a delightful suggestion to build such a snack around. Add some tasty Holiday brew, mulled cider, hot cocoa, or your favorite, and make the time memorable.

Apple Spice Dump Cake

I adapted this recipe from one that a lady from a church function made. I thought it was a cobbler at first and was suprised to find out it was actually a dump cake.
We just made this for Thanksgiving and served it with vanilla ice cream. It was delicious. Enjoy!
Ingredients:
  • 1- (18.25 oz) spice cake mix
  • 2- (21 oz ) cans apple pie filling
  • 1- tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1- tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1- tsp ground all spice
  • 1- tbsp white sugar
  • 3/4- cup butter
  • 1- cup chopped pecans
Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
    2. Pour pie filling into a 9×13 in rectangular pan.
    3. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and sugar then sprinkle over the apple pie filling.
    4. Pour the dry cake mix over the apple's, dot with butter ( at least 3 dots across and 4 long ways total of 12 dots of butter to evenly melt) and scatter nuts over top
    5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min to an hour, until cake is brown on top and bubbling on the sides.
Serve with warm ice cream or whipped topping.

Enjoy!!

Link: Christmas Drinks


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Always Looking – People Who Made A Difference XXIV


Arthur Lovejoy

Arthur O. Lovejoy was professor of history at Johns Hopkins University from 1910 to 1939 and active in the university community until his death in 1962. He is credited with the introduction of the interdisciplinary academic area known as the history of ideas. He founded the Journal of the History of Ideas and established the Hopkins History of Ideas Club. Professor Lovejoy was also the first chairman of the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. He was a strong proponent of the right of faculty members to teach unencumbered by ideological restrictions.

Arthur Lovejoy wrote the following: “Whatever other definitions of man be true or false, it is generally admitted that he is distinguished among the creatures by the habit of entertaining general ideas.” Lovejoy was an idea man. Ideas were his stock in trade, specifically ideas about ideas. Intellectual concepts have histories, and this is what fascinated him: how the great ideas developed and mutated and combined and recombined and coursed from century to century. He was an archaeologist of the intellect, digging for the foundations of Western thought, seeking to reduce systems, creeds, and -isms to their fundamental particles. Lovejoy was interested in a rational basis for theology, what he termed “a quest for intelligibility,” so he studied philosophy and comparative religions and applied the techniques of a historian to his intellectual pursuits.

Lovejoy was hired by Stanford in 1899 but quit two years later when the president dismissed a colleague because the latter’s politics had offended a trustee. Harvard’s philosophy department wanted him, but President A. Lawrence Lowell blackballed him as a troublemaker. (Lovejoy would later co-found the American Association of University Professors, perhaps confirming Lowell’s worst fears.)

Johns Hopkins University, apparently not so easily scared, hired him for its philosophy department in 1910. Lovejoy was a philosophy professor but didn’t like what he considered artificial disciplinary lines. Under him Hopkins became known as the center of historical philosophical thinking.

When Lovejoy looked at ideas, he saw aggregates. He believed that philosophical systems, political creeds, and big ideas about life and God and meaning all could be disassembled into building blocks that he called “unit-ideas.” These units, he said, were passed down and used in new combinations by generation after generation of thinkers. He wrote, “… Most philosophic systems are original or distinctive rather in their patterns than in their components.” That is, past a certain point in history there were no new fundamental ideas, just new ways to combine these unit-ideas. In his most famous book, The Great Chain of Being, he examined the idea, derived by the Neoplatonist philosopher Plotinus from Aristotle and Plato, that all of creation forms a chain. The chain includes all that could possibly exist, starting with God, in an infinite series of forms, each of which shares at least one attribute with its neighbor in the chain. Lovejoy traced this idea through 2,000 years of intellectual history, demonstrating its influence on thought in the West.

An important aspect of Lovejoy’s work was his examination of how the meanings of words changed over time, and the effect those changes had on ideas. He’d take “nature” or “romanticism” and demonstrate how people used these terms without being fully cognizant of the ambiguities caused by shifting definitions. Lovejoy once subjected himself to interrogation by the Maryland Senate, when he’d been nominated for the state’s educational board of regents. A legislator asked Lovejoy if he believed in God. Lovejoy developed at length 33 definitions of the word “God” and asked the committee member which of these meanings he had in mind when putting the question.” As the story goes, no one felt inclined to ask him another question, and Lovejoy was confirmed. Unanimously.

 Adapted and condensed by John I. Blair from the article at pages.jh.edu/~jhumag.

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Angel Whispers

By Peg Jones 

8 Ways of How to make the Holiday Season
less stressful, for all

It’s the week before Thanksgiving and we are in a panic because, we have to cook three apple pies and 3 vegetable dishes, cook two turkeys, get 20lbs of mashed potatoes ready for dinner at 3 pm, with 20 people coming to the house, and five will be staying with for three days. And to add to all of this, to the every burning fire, you have to work till 4 on the day before Thanksgiving.

That was last week’s problems, the Thanksgiving Holiday is done. And as you looked at your calendar, the Monday morning after the just passed holiday weekend, you see that you have less than 4 weeks to plan and decide what the Christmas or Hanukkah or other traditions, of the season, plans and events will be the next 3- 4 weeks for this very busy season.

You see the craziness of all that is supposedly expected on social and traditional levels. The expectations of your children, young and old, friends and relatives, and finding the time to do the shopping, the baking and the going to the concerts, and all the activities that the children are involved in, at school, and church, or temple, and the adult parties that can be a bit cumbersome, and expensive.

It can get quite crazy, wild. But does it really have to be this way.. ?

Sometimes making the season simple can be the easiest way for coping with the incredible amount of marketing, and all of its expectations. Making it simple, fun, and creative is what I am feeling. I need to suggest for having the holiday to be something you and all in your life to enjoy the holiday season.
Tradition is a big part of the holiday season, and passing down the traditions of food, social occasions and of adults and children can be hard to keep up.

Of course this is not the way for all of us but those with children, married or single, and wanting to uphold the traditions you choose to share with them, can be rather crazy. Or if you have to cook for a party or lots of people during the day of the holiday, having company during this time, can be a challenging task too.

I asked Archangel Michael and Archangel Raphael, for some ideas on some main points to consider for this holiday season, to possibly make the season go a bit smoother with less stress…..Of course we have the weather to consider too, because inclement weather, can certainly change the plans for our holiday season.
The following are some points to ponder.
  • • Make lists, of all you need to do. Take out your calendar, put in the kids social events and your events too, with or without your partner, and with friends.. The office parties, the neighborhood gatherings. Then plan out shopping lists, for food and home decorations, in and outdoor.. And delegate, delegate.
  • • Delegate tasks for home, tasks and include everyone that can help… Taking out the decorations and decorating can be a family activity over a weekend, and the same with cooking… Preparing for the holiday food, can be delegated too, to older children, who can cook or bake, or send them to the store for things you may need for the holiday… Also making homemade decorations for whatever holiday is being celebrated in the home is a good way to include all in helping the holiday be fun..
  • • Planning a budget so that expenses don’t go to out of control is very important. Sticking to the plan is always a challenge, especially for those that have a kind heart, and want to make everyone happy….
  • • Making your own holiday cards for those special in your life, can be done for those with older children. Making ornaments are also a fun thing to explore and research… They look great on the tree or in a window, and make great gifts too.
  • • Ten people are coming to your house on the day of the holiday, and you work or just very busy.. You can ask each person to bring a dish, or dessert for the meal and you cook the turkey, and a dessert or two, Asking others to help is a good way to keep the amount of work down, and can help to keep all calm.. Also make some of the food ahead of time, such as dessert, and some vegetables or casseroles. And ask for help too.
  • • As for the gifts to be purchased, many buy all through the year, or buy gifts as they travel too.. OR you can make some gifts and start early to begin the projects, or to give to a charity of your choice. There online shopping too and this can take time away from the shopping centers. Make it simple, make it fun..
  • • I remember days of watching relatives, and myself included of wrapping the day before Christmas, mountains of gifts, sitting in the bedroom away from the family activities all day.. Try wrapping as your purchase the items, or use bags, as this saves time for the laborious task of wrapping the gifts. As others to help too..
  • • How about the card list in sending cards to friend and relatives, and business associates… Can the list be cut down a bit this year? Do you have to really send cards to those you will be seeing on the holiday or in town?
The holidays are a time of community, and so many of us have this opportunity of being with those we love and cherish. There are many that do not have this and the angels ask us to remember this, and to be kind to those who are with family or who are celebrating alone, for so many reasons, that I don’t need to write about.

I think keeping these people in mind. In giving them a call, or sending a card, saying hello, helping out at a charity or soup kitchen, or just lighting a candle and asking our higher power, to be with them, and to keep them safe for this time, if they do happen to be completely alone..

If appropriate you could ask them to a meal on the day of the holiday or before or after the holiday, just to let them know you are thinking of them.

We also have to respect that some choose to be alone too, and that is ok too.

I believe I have pretty much covered the main things to consider during the holiday coming up.
As light workers, this can be a season of great challenge for the people we work with and on a personal basis.. We need to be sure that we are grounded and protected safely so that we can do the work we share with others, and for ourselves and family, so that we too are able to enjoy the holiday time, if celebrated. Or it’s just atime personal spiritual celebration, of our source.. Having our own traditions and celebrations are to be celebrated too and respecting all ways of others celebrating this season too…

2014 is leaving us and 2015 is quickly coming towards us….

I just want to say that the next month is a time of joy and peace for all and to know, that whatever difficulties maybe come about this time, your angels are with you always Especially, when you ask them for assistance… Asking them for help and trusting they are there for you, will help you to see how much the angels do want to help you today and always..


"Having positive intent in all that you do,
Will keep you, from feeling a always so blue.
Helping your fellow man, in some special way,
Will help them carry on, throughout their day.
Going the extra mile and helping with a smile,
Will help you to share, and show you care.
If life gets tough and it’s hard to cope,
Know the angels are with you
we will guide you on your slippery slope.
When asking your angels for guidance, and telling them your woes,
Know we are listening and offering you a rose.
The rose signifies love and the strength that you possess,
Listen closely to our whispers and know you are very blessed."

Copyright© 2006 PegJones

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Introspection


I knew about China’s reputation for its air and water pollution long before I moved here. It is also the first thing people notice when they visit China, especially, in the capital city of Beijing. China’s mainland is now the world’s number one polluter and the pollution is taking its toll on people’s health and well-being. It has also become a major embarrassment for the Chinese Government and the Chinese people are now demanding Government regulations to curb the amount of carbon emissions that is being emitted into the atmosphere.
    One in five people in China would consider themselves conservationists and they speak out against industries that have a reputation of polluting the air and waterways.
    The pollution in China is also a major concern for the country’s tourist industry. People in the past have traveled to China to experience the country’s rich cultural heritage but what many are finding today is a consumer driven society with its worship of money. The old ancient customs and beliefs are being kicked to the wayside for modern consumerism.
    Millions of Chinese however are now trying to reject the influence the western world is having on their culture. Many Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian temples that have been condemned decades ago by the government are drawing many tourists willing to explore the ancient Chinese beliefs.
    It was during China’s Cultural Revolution, that many Buddhist temples were destroyed or defaced. Today, these temples are alive with worshipers. By some accounts, one out of every five Chinese call themselves Buddhists. Many scholars believe the search for faith may be linked to China’s massive environmental problems and the Country’s economic growth.
    Many in China see their world of capitalism and socialism and consumerism as a kind of industrial behemoth that is just thundering ahead, that is draining life out of the villages. That is polluting the soil and the water and the air, the world in which they live is becoming a heartless world.
    The single-child policy is believed by many to have created the most selfish generation in China’s history, because each child has been brought up as the center of attention for the family. Nothing is too much to give to them. This played a part in China’s massive economic rise to world dominance.
    Many in China however believe their country’s new growing interest in Buddhism may bring some compassion back not only for their fellow human beings but for the environment and for the growing endangered species population within the animal kingdom. The majority of the Chinese grew up believing that beliefs in Buddhism are nothing more than a superstition. However, many are now rediscovering the rich traditions associated with Buddhism.
    An area rich in biodiversity that many conservation groups say is greatly imperiled is Tibet, China. It is home to the headwaters of the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, quite literally a lifeline to hundreds of millions of people downstream. Conservation and respect for all living things has long been an intrinsic part of life there.
    Tibet has seen so much political upheaval and social change, but Buddhist values have endured. The Buddhists in Tibet believe whether you are a newborn or an 80-year-old, we should all be protectors of life because we are all responsible for the life around us.
    What impact will the polluted environment have on the Children of China? That is a question that many in China are now asking. When a child sees hundreds and thousands of dead fish floating down rivers and streams do they become desensitized to their country’s polluted waterways? Do they just accept pollution as a fact of life?
    It would appear though that the Chinese Government is actively supporting a traditional culture as a way to lead people back toward a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. The ancient Chinese culture has always promoted harmony between humankind and nature and it encouraged limited consumption and a simple way of life. The average Chinese person doesn't oppose taking from nature. They oppose the over-exploitation of nature that is harmful to the environment.
    Many in China see a return to the ancient Buddhist ways as a step toward not only healing the environment but humankind as well.
    But only time will tell …….
    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
    U.S. voice mail: (800) 272-6464
    China Cell: 011-86-15114565945
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill
    Email: introspective7@hotmail.com
    Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found on his award winning blog, Link:
    http://thomasfoneill.blogspot.com

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Kieffers


In our yard on Woodcrest Street
There stood a pear tree,
Hard and crunchy kieffers,
The kind you cannot eat as-is.

The flowers were white and pretty;
The ripened pears were fragrant;
We saw how jays and squirrels ate them
And figured we might try.

I picked a bunch, a bushelful,
Gnawed and browned, grit like sand;
Then we sat around our table
Trimming each by hand,

Chunking them in pieces,
Plunking them into a pot,
Simmering with spices
Until they softened up enough

We could shove them through a sieve
And filter out the grit,
Adding just a hint of citrus
Before we sealed the jars.

That was many years ago;
But even now I miss
Those homely kieffer pears
And the faith that made them sweet.

©2014 John I. Blair


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Bring Me The Key


The time has come
To go and devour some
Let them medicate the brain
As you try to not go insane

Held down by the chains
As you're engulfed in flames
In a scream mouth open wide
The demons unleashed inside

You're begging to be set free
The wrong you've done you see
You said that we'd be married
If I fell then I'd be carried

To me you promised it all
Said in times of need I can call
But you're nowhere to be found
As in chains I sit here bound

Will the end ever come
Or will I die here like some
As I'm Sitting here all alone
I watch as you rattle my bones

All I wanted was a kiss
Instead all I got was this
I really do want to be free
Someone bring me the key

So I can get rid of the chain
Before I end up going insane
I really do want to be free
Someone bring me the key

©11/5/2014 7:37pm Jeremiah Raber

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Not Alone


It’s been a year,
One full cycle of the sun,
Since one full cycle
Of your life
Completed.

I do not go
To visit you;
You’re not there
In that small box
Immured in stone.

If you’re anywhere
You dwell
Within me,
Watching me
With hazel eyes,

Reminding me
To stay well,
Keep appointments,
Stop for stop signs,
Remember pills.

I can almost
Feel your hand,
Smell your skin,
Hear your voice
Laughing at my jokes.

I’ll be lonely
But not alone;
You’re still here.

©2014 John I. Blair

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I Won't Return

Dream if you can dream
Take yourself back to that moment in your mind
Breathe if you can breathe the air
Are you being honest or taking someone for a ride

I can’t know what gets you down
I don’t want to know when you’re around
You can’t feel without a sound
I can’t know when you’re in town

Dreams take you to other dreams
Nights bring out empty thoughts and extremes
Panic sets in and you say goodbye
Daylight returns to a new sunrise

I don’t know what touches your heart
I can’t get too close or it will tear me apart
Time wraps around time then settles in
I can’t know what you meant

Dream if you can dream
Bring yourself to that point of no return
Breathe if you can breathe the air
I won’t be burned again I won’t return 

©11/28/14 Bruce Clifford

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Sing Out A Song

 
Sing until you can't sing no more
Let it all out and let your voice soar
Let out your feelings, give voice to your soul
Give us a song, so that we'll also know
Sing it out out loud
Yet not in a crowd
Sing it out alone
Or on the telephone

Let your soul sing out exactly how you feel
Sing us a story, touching all that is real
From your heart and soul, we'll listen to
Sweet harmony in a song that's from you

Sing us a tune to make us want to sing along
Let your voice dance in the air so very strong
Let us feel the message in what we hear

In the song that you share, a song full of cheer
Sing out a song that will make you feel great
At the spur of the moment, so you don't have to wait
Sing out a song of love and of laughter
That will have us so happy, forever and after
©Nov 18, 2014 Bud Lemire                        
                         Author Note:
No matter if you think you have a good voice
or not, singing is good for your soul. Expressing yourself
and letting out a song makes you feel good. It is a song
that must have touched you, and you decided to share it
with the Universe. Whether in a crowd or alone, it will
always make you feel better. Whether it is a well known
song, or one you made up at the spur of the moment,
it is sung with a good feeling inside. Music
really does touch the soul, and the voice
can touch so much as well. Even a voice
that is not sung in song, can really
touch you. I do believe there is
good energy in each song that
uplifts us. So, keep on
singing, and keep on
dancing to every song.

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I Cling to Life

I cling to life when death
Surrounds this place
With reminders
That I can’t evade.

Why should I heed?
Death will find me
When my time is done
And needs no guide.

I don’t try to hide
But go on loving life,
Warming my old bones
Deep in its sweet embrace.

©2014 John I. Blair

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Lighten Up With Laughter

 
Lighten up your life with laughter
It's needed in this world and after
Lighten your stress, and your mood
Joke around but don't be rude
Laughter truly is the best thing
A touch of humor is always good to bring
A funny joke to share
Will clear any air

It's the best thing for your soul
Gigglers are the ones who know
Giggle and laugh, and smile too
Depression won't want to be with you

Don't take life too serious each day
Lighten it when you put laughter on display
Laugh at how funny people can be
Then you can laugh along with me

What could make you laugh out loud you say
Something funny that happened in a humorous way
Lighten up your life with laughter
It's needed in this world and the here after
©Oct 30, 2014 Bud Lemire
                                Author Note:
I always find life goes much better when you can
laugh and look at it from a different angle. Laughter
relieves stress and makes everything so much easier on
you. It helps you get through your life when you can ease
any tension with laughter.

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

Soul Personality

 
Who knows what touches the soul and what touches the mind
In everything that you seek and all that you find
All we know is how it makes us feel
Sensations deeply connect us to all that is real
We can't all like the same thing
We take away something different than what we bring
Touching others in ways we may never know
Deep inside it is recognized by the soul

What makes us laugh, what makes us cry
Some of us will choose to walk, some will fly
Sometimes we think we haven't left the ground
Others will look skyward to where we are found

What interests us in music, or what we like on TV
Makes up our characteristics of our personality
What we believe and enjoy, keeps us moving ahead
Just following the path to which we are lead

The walk of life and the journey of the soul
Brings us lessons that we come to know
All the places where we come to be
Are the results of our Soul Personality
©Oct 19, 2014 Bud Lemire
                         Author Note:
Our Soul Personality is what makes up all that we are.
Our likes, our beliefs, what we know, what we do, what
makes us smile, or makes us angry. But we are so much
more than what is on the surface. Inside, is our Soul
Personality, and as we journey this lifetime, it comes to the surface. 
What we may have forgotten, is once again remembered.

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

Depression

 
So many people deal with depression every day
Emotions that cut deep and won't go away
Colors dance around, but all they see is gray
A deep down dismal feeling that has come to stay
Falling deep into the gray world that you've come to know
Everything seems hopeless, there's nowhere you can go
Alone in a place so dark it makes you cry
Thoughts rolling in, do you really want to die

There are many good things, if you could only see
The beauty of the Universe, in this reality
Nature and its colors, people's laughter too
You can climb out, but it's always up to you

You are not alone, and never have to be
See beyond the darkness, to better company
Reach out to someone, and let them near
Let light into your darkness, release all of the fear

Look for the good in everything you seek
Your world doesn't have to be so bleak
The light of love can be your guide
Let your soul direct you from the inside
Let that smile come, let it fill your soul
So you can feel complete, when you let depression go
©Nov 6, 2014 Bud Lemire
                               Author Note:
There are so many people in this world who have to deal
with depression. Sometimes it is mild enough to treat with
good things such as nature and just doing what makes you
feel good. But others are so deep into it, they need pills
because it helps them more. Whatever it is that helps you,
I wish you the best in feeling better.

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

Down on My Knees


Poor little boy slowly walks off to school
Knowing they'll make him look like a fool
With every step he regrets the day
He already knows what they would say
Day after day its always the same
Hiding tears. Trying to not go insane
He faces the bully with trembling knees
Thinking if God is real then stop this please!
So often he wonders "Does anyone care"
Is someone out there his feelings to share
He thinks If only he had a mom and dad
Then maybe he wouldn't always be so sad
In his heart he says a sad little prayer
"I need to talk" "Is there anyone out there"
"God if you're real then show me please"
"I'm begging you. Look I'm Down on my knees"

Year after year the time slowly passes by
That same boy no longer looks to the sky
Day after day he's digging his grave
Feeling entrapped. Now he's just a slave
All because he wanted fortune and Fame
He thought he knew how to play the game
His heart is gone and his soul is lost
Bound in chains. That was the cost
Now he sits there. Broken hearted
Wishing for a life that never started
In his heart he says a sad little prayer
"I need to talk" "Is there anyone out there"
"God if you're real then show me please"
"I'm begging you. Look I'm Down on my knees"

©11/18/2014 9:24am Jeremiah Raber

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

 

This Kind Of Love

 
Imagine two people miles away
Yet closely together every day
It isn't physical, but of the soul
I really wonder just how much you know

Imagine the deep love each one feels
Closely connected, not separated by wheels
The distance is really not that far
This love is much stronger without a car

The spirit is a special gift you see
It bridges the distance of all love can be
No worries of weather, or enough gas to arrive
This kind of love makes you happy to be alive

Stronger and deeper and much more complete
When the souls who are Twin Flames spiritually meet
They aren't a Soul Mate, it's very much stronger
This love connection will last a lot longer

A lifetime and after, you'll feel all of this love
God has blessed you with all the best of
Think of the best love that you ever felt
Not even close, this kind will make you melt

Heavenly beyond anything physically to feel
It's two souls recognizing the love that is real
Their love is with you all the time
Felt throughout your body, it is divine

I can't even compare it to anything close
It's the soul of your lover, not an Earth bound ghost
This kind of love touches places they physically could not
The energy of a Twin Flame can make you very hot

Remember the soul is made up of energy and does lots of things
Think of this love as being carried on loving wings
If our Twin Flame passes away
We can still feel them every day

It's the way of love, and the way of the soul
The body's the vessel, but there's much more to know
Just think of feeling the bliss twenty four hours each day
Everywhere you are, that feeling won't ever go away
The love of Twin Flames is a forever thing
Because souls never die, whatever life brings
This kind of love is the Twin Flame love
.
©Nov 15, 2014 Bud Lemire
                         Author Note:
This is what I feel it is, for this is what I've experienced with
my love and in my life. Everyone has their own story on how it is
for them. Whether it be Soul Mate, Duo Soul, Twin Flame,
or something else. I wish you the best in having the
best love ever. Your soul deserves the very best.
May the love be yours. Always.

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

 

Knowing Cancer

 
Everyone who has a form of Cancer, may not be the same
Just like everybody you know, they have a different name
Having Cancer isn't fun, it isn't like playing game
Wise up and listen, so you won't have to be lame
Just like every individual that has a personality that is unique
There's different forms of Cancer, but most will make you weak
Some remedies will help a little, some will help a lot
Taking away your pain, depending on what you've got

Once again, everyone is different on how they will react
Sometimes once will help, sometimes you keep going back
What might work for another, might not work for you
You need to adjust to what will work, just so you can get through

Adjusting the dosage, may help to some degree
Doing what feels right, is all you need to be
Understanding that not everyone will react the same
It'll work or it won't work, nobody is to blame

You may think you know it all, but you don't know until
You have all the Cancer facts, then maybe you will
Before you start pointing fingers, at someone that you know
Read about the Cancer, so you can be a Pro
©Nov 25, 2014 Bud Lemire
                                 Author Note:
Know all the facts about the type of Cancer someone has.
Not everyone can use the same medicines, or the same
system to help their bodies fight off Cancer. Everyone
is different, and what they choose to do, is what their
bodies can handle. It's not a breeze to have Cancer.
It makes you very weak. Also remember, when someone
has Cancer, sometimes you want to do more and you
can't. But by being there as a friend, you do so much more.
So many people back away and are afraid to be there for them.
It's what they need. It's the best medicine.

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

 

Latitude Of Our Time


Are we mixing up our minds
Are we lost and out of line
Maybe the only strength we could find
Is the latitude of our time

Are we shaking heads with our senses
Are we the mist between the waves
Maybe if we took down or defenses
As I listen to an album called Brave

She didn’t see it coming
We didn’t feel it moving
She didn’t have the motion
We didn’t want to believe it

Are we twisting up the lies
Are we gazing into each others eyes
Maybe the only dream we could define
Is the latitude of our time

This latitude of our time
Are we lost in each others minds
Crossing empty fields with a bottle and a charm
Carrying sympathy for each arm

©11/11/14: Bruce Clifford

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


Tying Up Loose Ends

 
Some people get so very sick
And pass away way too quick
Many of them don't get a chance to do and say
Much of what they need to before they pass away
Things that they should have done
Arguments they might have had with someone
Maybe a project they wanted to complete
Before the end that they did meet

It's not good to hold a grudge
When one of you just won't budge
Forgiveness is the way to go
Life's too short for a feuding show

On the Other Side, you'll review your lessons here on Earth
From the day you passed, going all the way back to your birth
Was there anything you could have changed
Something that could have been rearranged

Do it before your time comes to an end
Cherish each moment and the time you spend
Regrets should not follow you when you go
Finish the things that only you know

©Nov 17, 2014 Bud Lemire
Author Note:
Is there someone you had an argument with?
Make up with them and forgive them. We carry
those feelings with us and are forever wishing we
had done something while we were here. Is there
something you want to do before you pass. Do it
as soon as you can. Don't wait. Time goes by very
fast and tomorrow never comes, because when it gets
here, it is today, and when it passes, it is yesterday. So
do it today, so you won't have any regrets when it's your
time to go. Heaven may call you Home at anytime.

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

 

Lexi - Chapter 8


My whiskers

If you don’t know who I am my name is “she who must be obeyed” or if you are human I am called rather laughingly “Lexi May” or just “Lexi”. But if you are human and reading this just call me by my real name which is “she who must be obeyed”.

Last time I mentioned my whiskers and how important they are to me. And not only me but every chosen one.

Whiskers are just as important as my eyes ears and nose.
You humans talk about having five senses, sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Well we chosen ones have six. We have sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing and proximity.

Let’s look closely at some of my senses.
My sight is important to me as it helps me in my day to life. But it’s not like yours which is a general kind of sight.
You see everything yet you see nothing.
Let me explain in a little more detail as the comment that “you see everything yet you see nothing” sound very condescending.
You humans see the trees, the sky, and the transport on the hard black surface. You see the birds, the hills and mountains. But you don’t see the bird sitting in the tree or the mouse hiding under the bush near the tree.
Chosen ones eye sight is much like yours other than the color is muted. The reason for this is it helps us with movement.
Let us both look at the tree outside.
You see a tree moving in the wind. I see a tree moving in the wind too. But I also see the bird sitting on the branch. Not only do I see the bird with a red chest sitting on the branch but I also see the bird breathing. Plus I see the other bird sitting behind the first bird and I see the gray mouse sitting in the pile of leafs that the tree has dropped.
However if the tree stops moving or the birds and mouse stop their breathing then I just see the tree moving in the wind as the birds and mouse become part of the tree.

Now let’s look at the same tree at night.
You might see a tree shape thing that is dark. If the moon is up and the stars are bright you might see a tree and branches? But you don’t see the birds or the mouse.
But I see a tree with branches and a chosen one climbing the tree to catch the bird that’s sleeping on one of the branches. What’s more I see the other bird sitting in a nest higher up. I also see the colors of the chosen one and the colors of the birds.
Ok so the colors are not as sharp as they are when its day light and the colors are much more muted for me at night but I still see the colors.
Now let’s get things even darker like it would be inside with the window coverings closed and the lights off and at the darkest part of night.
For you it would be just shapes. Shapes of the long sitting thing, shapes of the place you keep books, shapes of low things you put drinks on. Shapes of things you sit at. Just shapes and nothing more. No colors to the shapes. Not even shades of gray just black shapes.
Now what I see is the place to put your drinks, the long sitting thing, the place you humans sit to eat and I see them with colors, mostly shades of grays.

Now let’s go to where there is no light at all. Not even the light of night.
Let’s make it so dark that it’s totally black and you can’t see your paw in front of your face. So dark that you see nothing, not even your paw waving back and forth in front of your face. I just want to get the point across that it’s totally utterly and completely dark.
Now can I see things in those conditions? The answer is no I can’t. Using just my eyes I am as blind as you are in those dark conditions. But I can still get around with out bumping into things.
If I was to lose my eye sight I would not be totally useless. I would still be able to get around almost most as well as if I had eye sight.
The reason is simple.

My whiskers.

I’ve heard the misguided comment you humans make about us chosen ones and our whiskers. “They are used to measure the size of a hole so we don’t get stuck, they are use to help us balance”. All true. But we use our whiskers for so much more than just measuring holes and balance.
Our whiskers help our other senses to such a high level that we could lose one of our senses and our whiskers would step in to help the other senses compensate for the missing sense.
I can see this is going to be more than just my normal five pages. So let me take a few senses at a time and explain how my whiskers help those senses.
So we are working on eye sight.

So let’s go and sit under the tree I mentioned on a bright sunny day.
So now we are sitting under the tree and it’s so bright that it hurts your eyes.
You can put on dark glasses that make it less bright. But we chosen ones can’t do that. So nature has given us a way of dealing with a very bright sunny day.
Our pupils become mere slits to cut down on the amount of light that comes into our eyes. Also we know to find a nice shady spot and to sit back and relax in that shady spot until either we have to move or the light is not as bright.
So here we are sitting under the tree.
Ok while we are sitting here lets look around.

For me it’s very bright. Almost to the point of things have a white glare to them.
To deal with that issue I simple close my eyes and act like I am sleeping.
Now here is where my whiskers come into play.
As I have stated you humans think we use our whiskers just for balance and making sure we can get in and out of places that are tight fits.
Well you are so wrong. Our whiskers are used for far more than just balance and getting in and out of tight places.
The thing is that our whiskers are very sensitive to things.

Now back to sitting under the tree.
So here we sit me with my eyes closed and acting like I am asleep so that my eyes don’t hurt.
As we sit here the wind starts to blow as a nice 2 mile an hour breeze from the north northeast.
Now how do I know this?
My whiskers tell me that’s how I know.

We are sitting on the sunny side of the tree which means we are sitting on the south side of the tree.
I can tell you that the wind is coming from behind us and off to our left side which means its coming from the north northeast. What’s more I can tell you how hard the wind is blowing, which is 2 mph as I just said.
The reason I can do this and you will have to trust me. Is that my whiskers vibrate.
Now having just told you a big secret about whiskers I am going to give even more away as I explain what I can do with my whiskers.

Now let’s say we napped under the tree for so long that it’s now dark. In fact very dark, so dark in fact that you human can barely see.
All you can see is the dark shapes of the bushes and rocks.
But I can see so much better than you can at night.
My eyes are the end result of millennium of evolution where seeing in the dark enabled us to hunt better at night when it was safer for us to do so.
So the night darkness is not as dark to us chosen ones as it is to you.
But what do I see? That’s what you want to know isn’t it?
Well I see lots of things and at night I see as well as you would see at sunset.
Think about the sun having just set but there is still enough light for you to see things but the colors are muted for you.
Bright red is a pale pink, the green of tree leafs is a pale green or pale yellow. You see colors fade for me when it gets darker. But that does not mean that they fade away to black, white or gray for me. No they just get even more muted for me.
However as I stated a while back when things get very dark like a cloudy dark night with no moon or stars then things do turn black, white and shade of gray.

Ok so let’s leave the tree and walk back to my place that my human looks after and where I live.
As we walk back I see the ground as shades of gray and white while you may just see it as a light gray path with shapes that are black on either side of the path.

OH LOOK a mouse.
Sorry got distracted.

Now once back to my human’s place of living I have a small issue.
Because my eyes are in night mode the bright lights of my human’s place of live are very bright. So bright in fact that the hurt my eyes while they adjust back to day light mode.
Now let’s go back to the tree and walk back with no form of lighting at all. Lets make is so dark that I can’t see my paw in front of my face.
Ok we both have a problem. A huge problem in fact. We both can’t see anything. It’s just totally dark. Total darkness.
Only I have my whiskers.

Now read carefully as you are about to lean something about why whiskers are so important to us chosen ones.
As I mentioned our whiskers vibrate when the wind blows. They also vibrate with air currents when we walk.
So grab onto my tail and follow me as we head back to my humans place of living.
Now as I walk in totally darkness I can feel the change in air currents as we move. My whiskers gently vibrate as I get close to things. I don’t even have to touch the bushes or rocks to know they are there. My whiskers tell me that they are there.

Ok so how does it work?
I wish I could say “Oh it’s simple” but its not. But I am going to try and explain how it works?
What you might think as four sets of whiskers is not in the case. Yes I know I have a set of whiskers on either side of my nose and a set above each eye.
But look closely and you will see that in fact on just my left side of my face I have what we call lesser whiskers. Which are the very short whiskers at the front. Then I have what we call minor whiskers which are between the lesser whiskers and the greater whiskers. Then there are the upper whiskers above each eye.
Each set of whiskers play a very important role.

Let’s start with the lesser whiskers.
These are used for high winds and up close. The reason they are shorter than the other is because. If they were longer they would get in the way. Plus it takes more wind to make them vibrate.
Also the lesser whiskers are used for things up close that I can’t see when they are right under my nose. I mean can you see under your nose? I can’t. But with the lesser whiskers I can tell what is there and how close it is.
If something touches my lesser whiskers I got a rough idea of what its shape is. This is because the pressure that is applied presses less in some spot and more in others. And over the years I have lean that certain shapes applies different pressure. For example a round thing applies a different pressure than a square thing or a toy mouse applies a different pressure to a scrunched up bit of paper.
Knowing what pressure is what shape helps me a lot.
Now add in the fact that my lesser whiskers are right next to my nose I can use them to help my sense of smell. But we will get into that at another time.

Let’s move on to my minor whiskers.
My minor whiskers are longer than my lesser whiskers but shorter than my greater whiskers.
These minor whiskers are very useful when it comes to hunting and playing. Also they help me to judge speed as they vibrate when I walk at a certain rate. The slower I walk or move the less they vibrate or the faster I walk or run the faster they vibrate.
But the minor whiskers have a more important role to play that just judging speed.
Because they vibrate I can also judge height.
You see the minor whiskers don’t just vibrate back and forth. They also vibrate up and down. The higher up I am the less they vibrate. Unless its windy and then I have a little of a hard time judging how high up I am.
While we are on the topic of wind and my whiskers I can tell as I have mentioned the speed of wind.
For me wind speed is important as it helps make up my mind on whether I want to go outside.
To me there are a few important wind speeds that I use to help me to make my mind up on whether to go outside or not.
There is the “oh no wind”, there is the pleasant gentle breeze, there is the strong breeze, there is “its windy” and then there is “Hell no”.
Have you ever seen one of us chosen ones standing in the door way like we can’t make up our mind on whether to go outside or not? Well that’s the reason why. We are trying to see how windy it is. Well that’s one of the reasons anyway for there are many reasons that we will stand in the door way half in and half out.
Ok back to my minor whiskers.
Minor whiskers also work closely with lesser whiskers to aid me when things are right under my nose.
The length of both sets of whiskers helps me to work out how close something really is.
Let's say I have one of my squeaky toy mice that I am playing with and I pull it in closer to give it a good sniff as its been dipped in my favorite kind of catnip.
By using both my lesser whiskers and my minor whiskers I can bring the mouse as close at I want without having to look down my nose and go cross-eyed.

Now about my great whiskers.
These are by far the most important of all my whiskers on my nose.
They work with my lesser and minor whiskers much as I have just mentioned but and this is a very important but. But they do far more than just help with things close up or with telling me how windy it is outside.
My great whiskers like my minor whiskers vibrate but they are so sensitive that I can feel the air current of your words when you talk.
With my great whiskers I can feel the slightest air movement of objects near by. Currents of air that you can’t feel I can feel with my greater whiskers.

So let’s go back to total darkness and me moving around as if I can see.
Remember it’s so dark that I can’t see my paw in front of my face.
Now as I walk I generate an air current that moves away from me in all directions. As that air current moves out in front of me it hits objects much like sound waves do for a bat. And much like a bat’s hearing my whiskers pick up the returning air current that bounces off the objects around me.

By how much movement and how quickly the air current returns I can tell how far or how close an object is. But unlike bats hearing it does not tell me what the shape is. Just that it’s close or far away.
The above statement makes my whiskers sound more like hearing which is not the case. My great whiskers just tell me that something is close not what it is.

To be able to tell what an object is I would have to have the ability to transmit a high level sound pitch which I can’t. However if the object is a living breathing being I can tell what it is by using my hearing to listen to its heartbeat and its rate of breathing.
Think of it this way.
It is as I said totally dark. As you get near to something you feel a vibration on your face that tells you that you are near something. The stronger the vibration the closer you are, the weaker the vibration the further away you are.
While that sounds simple its not and its hard to put into words what really is going on.

Now my upper whiskers which are above my eyes.
The upper whiskers have many of the some functions as my lesser, minor and great whiskers do but they are only facing forward and just barely come above the top of my head.
But just coming above the top of my head is useful as they help me detect anything coming up behind me or above me.

The thing to remember is that my whiskers help my eyes and ears.
The best way to explain my whiskers is that the give me 270 degrees of extra protection around me. But as you might have noticed there is one area where my whiskers don’t help and that’s behind me. My upper whiskers do help a little but behind is a blind spot.
So when you come up behind us chosen ones either make a lot of noise so we turn around and can see you or don’t come up behind us as we tend to be a little jumpy about that and you don’t want us un-sheaving our razor sharp claws on you.
Ok now onto my whiskers and hearing.
Better yet let’s make that another chapter.
Oh if you wish to ask me questions my email is lexithecatsworld@gmail.com


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

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Editor's Corner

November 2014

“If you have not done things worthy of being written about, at least write things worthy of being read.” --Giacomo Casanova.

That is what we aim for each month with Pencil Stubs Online - things worthy to be read. For instance, "Little Things" by your editor's granddaughter, Jennifer Terwilliger, who writes movingly, and with humor of herself with her sons.

Jennifer's poem is one of sixteen presented and, as usual, there is a bit of synchronicity at play. Both Bud Lemire and yours truly composed verses describing their 'real' self, mine "Really Me" on the 8th and Bud's "The Real Me" on the 10th of October. Bud has five more poems, "We Can Fly," "The Rewards of Genealogy," "Autumn's Journey," "Songs in Time," and the timely but unsavory "Sour Turkey."

Phillip Hennessy sent along "Judy Kay" which he wrote of a friend of a friend while visiting in the states. The poem was also done as a song by one of his English musician friends. Bruce Clifford submitted "Another Door" and "There's No Peace."

John I. Blair's poetic muse has reawakened, he said he'd been in a summer slump with many gardening activities. We are rewarded with "Living Garden" from that focus. Then there is "Granddaughter" - he has two living near him - "Gifts," "In October," and "Looking at The Night." His Column "Always Looking - People Who Made A Difference XXIII" features the renown conductor Robert Lawson Shaw.

Mattie Lennon of Dublin, discusses Nicknames in "Irish Eyes," and Judith Kroll, always "On Trek" herself, says a lot succinctly in her column's essay. Our author and world traveler from Pennsylvania, Thomas F. O'Neill, now teaching in China, returns to his admiration of Einstein in "Introspective." Peg Jones in "Angel Whispers" shares some ideas for drawing family together through the holiday period just beginning, by recognizing reasons to be grateful.

The story section has chapter 7 of the self-declared wise feline, Lexi, "Cleanliness is next to Cattiness." The other chapters may be accessed by clicking the author's byline.

As always we are grateful in this month of Thanksgiving and must not forget our webmaster who keeps the wheels oiled and the ezine looking good - Mike Craner. Thanks again, Mike.

Look for the December issue of Pencil Stubs Online. Compositions are accepted throughout the period from publication through November 26th. If you'd like to do a regular column, send your suggestion and let's get you into action.

Click on Mary E. Adair for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at www.pencilstubs.com and also in the blog www.pencilstubs.net with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

Always Looking - People Who Made A Difference XXIII

Robert Lawson Shaw

Robert Lawson Shaw spent a lifetime in music. He founded the Robert Shaw Chorale, the Collegiate Chorale, the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. His love of music was nurtured in a California parsonage (his family was known as "the Singing Shaws") and in the church (three generations of Shaws and Lawsons were chaplains, ministers or missionaries). Shaw studied comparative religion, philosophy and English literature at Pomona College with the intention of following his father into the pulpit. But at age 22, with little prior experience, he accepted an offer from Fred Waring to form a glee club for a new radio series.

Although many people think of Shaw primarily as a choral and orchestral conductor, he might better be considered a minister of music, for he ministered and brought a message through his music to musicians and laypeople. He long worked to overcome the separation of art and religion, giving numerous addresses on the importance and interrelation of worship and the arts. On the nature of worship, one of Shaw’s frequent themes, he made three points. First, for worship to occur, there must be a sense of mystery and an admission of pain. A second characteristic of worship for Shaw was that it is communal. Shaw cited Martin Buber: "Man finds his being and his relationship to the other . . . which some call God, only when he is confronted with and responsive to another human being — a thou." Third, according to Shaw, worship has a "formal and ritualistic basis." Our coming together with regular frequency helps us better understand one another and our relationship to God.

Robert Shaw

In 1960, while associate director of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Shaw was installed as minister of music — at no salary — at the First Unitarian (Unitarian Universalist) Church of Cleveland. In his inaugural sermon, "Music and Worship in the Liberal Church," he spoke of the responsibilities of the arts to the church, saying that only the best is good enough. Otherwise, "God is only mocked, not worshiped." He cited four elements that are part of worshipful music. The first is the motivation of the participants. A second element of music for worship is craftsmanship. Shaw’s third criterion was that music have a historical perspective, which is "close to what we mean by ‘style.’ " Shaw’s final criterion was the possibility of the music’s being the "creative miracle of revelation." "The higher consciousness of the great artist," Shaw explained, "is evidenced not only by his capacity for ordering his experience but also by having his experience."

"Art exists to convey that which cannot be otherwise conveyed," said Shaw. He wanted, he said, to create each Sunday morning "out of worthy things, a wholeness of beauty and truth, an integrity of sound and sight and reason, which shall be its own reason for being here." The arts help us express and communicate ideas in a way not possible through words. The feeling and intensity expressed in a piece of music may be remembered long after the sermon is forgotten. The arts are the hand of humanity reaching out to others in a world of persecution, indifference and terror. The arts can set us free, unlike our technological, image-making society, which seeks to control us. "The arts may be not the luxury of the few, but the last, best hope of humanity to inhabit with joy this planet," said Shaw, who sometimes referred to the liberal arts as the "conservative" arts because they are the things that really "conserve" us. It is the nature of music, unlike painting and most of literature, that its final creation is not its original creation. Music needs to be sounded, to be sung. In this sense, the composer literally must leave his work to be finished by others.

An uncompromising conductor who lifted up the highest musical standards for orchestra and chorus, Shaw, with his visceral yet sensitive conducting style, inspired his musicians to attain his goals. "People, this just has to happen!" he prodded. He balanced his meticulous score preparation and rehearsal demands with a boundless childlike enthusiasm and contagious joy for each new work. Shaw’s life was interwoven into the developments of American music for over half a century, and his influence on choral music will be felt for decades. Because of his teaching, the music life in the cities where he worked is healthy and strong. Those who direct their own choirs came away from singing in Shaw’s choruses with renewed enthusiasm and the tools for teaching rhythm, pronunciation and tonal sonority.

Shaw occupied the most prestigious podiums in the country while being painfully aware of the sorrow, tragedy and racial divisions in our society. "We believe," he once wrote, "that in a world of political, economic and personal disintegrations, music is not a luxury but a necessity . . . because it is the persistent focus of man’s intelligence, aspiration and good will." A minister of music to all people, Shaw maintained that the church has a responsibility to the arts. In an October 1987 address to Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago on "Worship and the Arts," Shaw commented that in a world beset with a multitude of problems, “the arts may provide the day-by-day confirmation of Creation’s finger still at work in the lives and affairs of men . . . the church, if it wants to keep in touch with the Creator, must provide a home for all that is and all who are created, lest the church itself wither and drift into irrelevance.”

Full Orchestra
Adapted from an article by Gretchen E. Ziegenhals that first appeared in the Christian Century, March 22-29, 1989, p. 311. That article is copyrighted by the Christian Century Foundation.
Researched and compiled by John I. Blair

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On Trek



 
The crow moves swiftly from one place to another, flapping her wings tirelessly. If we would just listen we would hear the flapping, perfect tempo, swish swish swish of her wings.


Now the crow is sitting and resting, and watching the beautiful red tail hawk, gliding through the blue sky, dipping, and dancing with the wind, in what seems like an effortless undertaking. The crow is happy to just BE the perfect creature she is.


The red tail hawk saw the glistening crow shining in the light, admiring the beautiful colors that shimmered as the sunbeams touched the magical black cloak of the Crow. The hawk listened and heard the swishing of the crow.


The crow kept the beat, and the Hawk danced with the wind on the Arial dance space. We were blessed with another successful presentation of Harmony of Nature

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Irish Eyes

Nicknames

“A nickname is the heaviest stone that the devil can throw at a man.”
 

That is the only William Hazlitt quote that I have difficulty agreeing with. Who could argue with his, “Of all eloquence a nickname is most concise; of all arguments the most unanswerable”?

“My own nickname was, and still is, Sykie. There is no point in asking the derivation of it because I haven’t a clue. All I know that I’ve worn it for more than half a century. And in the same period I have come across many another’s nickname, some of them very clever.

Shan Mohangi , a black South African, hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 1963. There was an old woman contiguous to my home who believed in God but not in soap and water. (And this was before any water-charges.) She was promptly named “Mohangi’s mother.”
 
Thomas Paine claimed that titles are but nicknames and every nickname is a title. Families whose nicknames , such as “Informer” or “Souper” have travelled down the generations are not proud of their “title.” And I’m sure the “alternatively motivated” family who were known as the “stand-idles” weren’t all that impressed.

Of course some people were pleased with their handle. There was a man of my acquaintance , who was in a supervisory position and was known as The Rat. No need to describe him; suffice to say he was very proud of his moniker. I once knew a man who, because of an elaborate posterior, was known as, “Big Bum.” The initial of his surname was “C”, so the sobriquet progressed to “BBC.“ When his son joined the same company there was BBC 1 and BBC 2. A man in the same employment was always on the touch and he was called Red October (because he was always looking for a sub; it had to be explained to me too.)

I can’t be credited with coming up with many nicknames myself but I did make a few feeble attempts. One of my supervisors once reported me to the Divisional Manager because I was missing from my post for three minutes. It didn’t take me long to come up with The Egg-timer.
 
Tom Murray, a Dublin bus-driver was known as “The Jet.” Why? In the early days of Telefis Eireann, when the man in Marino had left his T.V aerial down on the road while he tried to establish where Kippure was. Pressure from the wheels of a No. 24 bus driven, by Tom , ensured that there would be no Tolka Row in that house for a while. The less than pleased the DIY man pursued Tom to the terminus and informed him; "You are after breaking my television aerial". Tom's truism; "*7^£%! buses don't fly" earned him the immortal nickname "The Jet" Murray.

And there was an ultra- conscientious Bus Inspector who had a penchant for hiding in doorways. And sure he had to be re-named “Milk Bottle.”  I knew an Operational Support Manager who was known as, Jock Strap and a woman who was called “Doorbell” for reasons that I won’t go into.

Then, there was the fellow who must have been a barber’s nightmare because of the high and unique neck-shave that he always insisted on. He did, of course, become known as “Saint Anthony.”
 
I once worked on a building-site where one particular travelling-foreman would appear out of nowhere and it didn’t take much imagination to name him The Ghost and another who was continually forecasting doom and gloom; he was known as “Dark Cloud.”
 
The coining of a nickname would, at times, be a “family affair”; a neighbour of mine had sixteen children. He gave each one a nickname, not all of them complimentary .

Then there was the man who died at a very advanced age and brought the name Cold Poker to the grave with him. The name had survived eighty years. As a young fellow he got a job in the local quarry as a “nipper.” It was customary for pipe-smoking stonecutters to send the nipper to the forge to redden the poker in the fire and bring it to them to light their pipe. Of course when the new nipper was asked to “bring me the poker”, not knowing the drill, he grabbed a cold poker and brought it to the pipe-smoker. And the rest, as they say . . .

Another stonecutter had a lumber peculiarity, the clinical term for which is, Lordosis. He was known to all and sundry as “The Hollow-Backed-Lad.”
 
Do you know how the famous “Pecker” (Patrick) Dunne got his nickname? He used to ride horses for Major Packard and his younger sister couldn't pronounce 'Packard' and would say Pecker. The name stuck and became known from Newcastlewest to Nashville.

A man of rural Irish background (a Rus-in-urbe) who worked in Dublin was called “Knorr”, a cryptic term if you weren’t familiar with the advertising slogan, “Thick country vegetable.”
 
Nowadays you hear the term “cool nickname.” Now, I know nothing about the temperature of nicknames. And I know even less about the advice to “adopt a nickname.” If I (or you) decided to come up with our own a nickname do you think it would catch on? I don’t think so.

"Sykie"



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Angel Whispers

A Thanksgiving Message:


8 Ideas about how we can be grateful for all we have in 2014

A year has passed and the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. This day marks the beginning of the holiday season for those of us in the USA. Before I write of the activities of what happens after Thanksgiving Day, I want to speak of Thanksgiving, a holiday to share with family friends and a time to be thankful for what you have at this time. For me, it’s about the relationships with my family and friends. It’s also about all that I have to be grateful for in my life and letting the people in my life know how I feel. It’s about thanking my higher power and all that are in our universe, protecting and guiding us on a daily basis. Thanking them for the help and guidance they have shared with me this past year.

I have found over the years, that when I am not in a place of appreciation, that is time for me start writing down what I am grateful for. And it’s also time for me to write at least three things that was positive as I live my day. I have found that when I do this, I find that I am feeling better, about all that is happening in my life, no matter how small. The fact that there is positive activity going in my life gives me hope and gives me confidence that all is well. I am also letting the universe know, that I am grateful too.

When I write my grateful list I try to write at least ten things on a given day. If on the next day when I write my grateful list I make an effort to write a few more different items but if I find I am running out items I repeat some of what I wrote the previous night. After about a week, I try for 15 items, and continue for a few more each day. I usually go to up to 20 over a period of a few weeks. I have found that when I make this list I do find myself becoming very grateful for all that I do have.

So in thinking about the grateful list, I thought why not include children, grandchildren, partner, friends, or even a group of friends in making this list in a creative way. So here are a few ways, I have been inspired to share today:
  • 1. Instead of a list, each day, purchase or decorate notebook or a journal that you absolutely fall in love with. Use this journal to write down all that you are grateful for. You can draw, or paint, what you are grateful for or write poetry about being grateful too.
  • 2. Maybe invite your children, no matter what the age to do the same.
  • 3. Make a grateful affirmation board of all you are grateful for and add to it as you find or think of things. You can do this for you personally or invite family members to participate too.
  • 4. Another thing you can do with family is to have a journal for the family members to add to as they go through their week or day. Then put their name next to what they had written.
  • 5. Have a white board to write down all you are grateful for as your day goes by.
  • 6. Draw a large heart or purchase one at a craft store and have kids or partner write why they are grateful, and/or they can draw as above, put pictures in the heart too signifying , what they may be grateful for. Make it as colorful as desired.
  • 7. Thanksgiving is a great time to do some of these projects too.
  • 8. Thanksgiving or holiday time is a good time to do them with family, or any other time for that matter.
I asked the angels, their take on what they want to tell us about Thanksgiving or the reason for the holiday. So this is what I heard:
“Letting go of the ego and letting go of what is in our head, and going to the heart place, we are able to wipe away the negativity or frustration of what we don’t have, can’t have and focus on, what we do have in our life that will help us to be grateful for the gifts in our life. Letting go of the ego, we can begin to see differently and we can begin to understand how lucky we truly are in our life. The angels of protection and the angels of healing are with you always. All you have to do is to ask for guidance and they will help you immediately. They also say that when we go to our heart and ask for their help, they will be with us, “Thanksgiving is a time of being with family and friends that matter. Celebrating each other and knowing that time spent together is precious.” They add, “Make this the best holiday possible, to celebrate uniqueness of each person you will be spending time with, this holiday.”

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!


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Introspective


I have been spending some of my pastime reading and writing about recent advancements in the area of science and technology. We all know how technology has been progressing along at lightning speed and how new discoveries are being made every day. I also like bringing up the topic of science in my cultural diversity classes at the Suzhou International Foreign Language School here in Suzhou, China.

I am not going to cover that topic in this month’s column though.

People who know me well know that I also enjoy reading the personal letters of Albert Einstein online. I would like to take the time in this month’s column to write about some of the things Einstein wrote.

When I read some of his various writings I find that there was a much deeper dimension to Einstein’s personality than his theories on Relativity. What intrigued me most about the letters was how spiritual he was. He wrote,
Editor's Note: the following was previously published in the August 2008 issue of this ezine, but is carried here for the interest of new readers.
"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
Albert Einstein died in 1955, and since his death, we have come a long way in our technological advancements and in our knowledge of the Universe. However, we have a long way to go as human beings in widening our circle of compassion.

There are also those who have chosen to ignore our empirical understanding of the cosmos. I say this because of today’s debate between the Christian Fundamentalists who are espousing the Intelligent Design theory as being the ultimate biblical truth against the empirical evidence of Evolution. Some religious conservatives have also made claims that Einstein believed in the biblical creation story.

What I have found is that Einstein did believe in God and in an intelligent design within the universe. He did not however believe in the intelligent design theory that the Christian Fundamentalists want taught in the public school system.

Science should be an empirical method of discovery for students not a religious conviction. To say that God created everything in the universe without a method of studying the claim is not science but rather an emotional and irrational stance against Science. It is one thing to believe in God, to devote ones life to that belief, and to have a blind faith in the assumption that God is the ultimate designer of our Universe, but where do you go from there and where is the scientific method of study?

In one of Einstein’s letters he wrote,
"The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge."
One of Einstein’s achievements was measuring the distance within our Universe by the speed of light. He discovered that light has a constant speed of approximately 186,282.397 miles per second. In veiw of this discovery it can take Millions and in some cases Billions of light years for the light of distant stars to reach the earth. The universe that we perceive is the universe of the past not the present.

When we look at the sheer vastness of our Universe with the Billions of Suns and Planets it is a statistical certainty that we are not the only intelligent life in the Cosmos. When we measure the birth and evolution of the universe on a scale of a 24 hour period humanity would have been born 10 seconds ago. Therefore, some intelligent life in far off galaxies could have had an evolutionary head start in terms of Millions and in some cases Billions of years before life as we know it existed on earth.

Some scientist would also go as far as to say that in far off galaxies intelligent life my have evolved without a DNA structure which is essential for intelligent life to exists on our planet. There could be intelligent life in distant galaxies that evolved far beyond our comprehension because of their lack of DNA and due to the vastness of the universe incapable or unwilling to visit our planet.

When you also consider how far evolved we have become as human beings in only three and a half million years we can presuppose that some intelligent life in the universe evolved far beyond our comprehension. Some intelligent life could have possibly evolved into what some Philosophers and Spiritualist would describe as spiritual beings due to billions of years of evolution.
    This is also where science, spirituality, and Philosophy are beginning to merge and compliment each other in our pursuit for knowledge.
    However, today’s Christian Fundamentalists would argue that it takes as much blind faith to believe in evolution as it does for the Godly people who believe in the biblical creation story.
I personally do not believe in the Judeo-Christian creation story nor do I believe entirely in the Darwinian evolution theory. I do however believe in evolution per se because of the scientific evidence that supports it. I do not see evolution as being contradictory to the Intelligent Design theory but rather evolution can be an intricate part of the Universes Intelligent Design.
Einstein also wrote in one of his letters,
“My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds."
Today’s Scientists recognize intelligent patterns within nature. That is why we continue to rely on Science and continue to develop scientific methods to help us gain greater insights in understanding nature’s intelligent design.

Humanity is also pushing to better itself with each generation. It is within that desire for self improvement that we have evolved to where we are today and will continue to evolve, socially, physically, consciously, and spiritually, for countless generations. With each generation humanity is gaining a deeper self-knowledge and becoming more self-aware of the essence of who we are as human beings.

The intelligent design of our own being is also a reflection of the intelligent design within all of nature. Empirical evidence has revealed to us that there is an evolutionary order to all life which some Scientists believe is an intricate part of nature’s intelligent design.
    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
    U.S. voice mail: (800) 272-6464
    China Cell: 011-86-15114565945
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    Email: introspective7@hotmail.com
    Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found on his award winning blog, Link:
    http://thomasfoneill.blogspot.com

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