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 and also in the blog 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

Click on John I. Blair  for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

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


“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.


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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!!

Click on Peg Jones for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


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
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill
    Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found on his award winning blog, Link:

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

In October

In October when
Autumn sunshine softens
And days grow short

The monarchs drift past
Following their age-old path
To Mexico and winter

Pausing randomly
At flowers here in my garden
And flutter almost aimlessly

As if no urgency exists
To what they’re at
Or primal need to live

Until the spring
And make their genes
Survive another year

Just so this pattern
Can repeat
Again, again, again.

©2014 John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Little Things

It's the little things
for instance -
My two boys
In actuality Teenagers
They most really would be
Ages 14 and 15.

To Still allow me -
As they say

or "Mother" when they can't get my attention -
To pull out our kitchen chair
I get to run my fingers
through their utmost unruly hair.

It's These Little Things

I Take notice of
The slight stubble across their cheeks.
A little more stubble underneath -
The chinny chin chin of my sweet little
The deep and ever so mighty voice
of my Cyrus Allen.

It's These Little Things

That I Find are Changing -
Ever so more frequently.
The sound of the clippers caution
a "No cutting of my ear Mom!"
a shy but modest "Her Name is Chyanne"
from my bold but blushing Cyrus Allen.

It's These Little Things

All while smiling -
My boys
Gently letting me into their world.

My heart glows with content
for I know
These memories
I'll cherish with my love
Never forget.
Tucked away
in my pocketful of
©Oct 22, 2014 Jennifer Terwilliger

Click on Jennifer Terwilliger  for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


To be reborn
I do not think
We need to die.

Call it wishful
If you must,
But there’s so much

Of me in her
I’m gazing at myself
Across the years.

The sunny smiles,
The instant tears,
Insistent curiosity

For knowing
In her, in me

When I was small –
That we are each
A younger child

With siblings
Just the same
In age gap

Caps coincidence.
And when she leans
Against me, snuggling,

I’m sure
That I’ll still be here
After I am gone.

©2014 John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Living Garden

Mine is a living garden –
A garden made of life –
Not just flowers and leaves,
Twigs, branches, roots,
But countless beings,

Butterflies, bees and beetles,
Lizards, squirrels, birds, me –
How the world has been
Endless generations
Since time’s first dawn.

There is no finite line
Between the parts;
We blend in one eternal whole,
One sacred entity,
Connected each to each.

When one dies, however small,
We all die momentarily;
When one is born
Joy fills our hearts
That life goes on and on.

©2014 John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Another Door

I try to open up and let the whole light through
I never raise the cup and think of what we’d do
In the end of a moment I’m silent by the fear
Another door has opened and leads me out of here

Where do I go
What do I do
Who do I tell
I’m lost here with you

Where is the start
What have we saved
Who knows the reasons
The promises we made

I try to open up in the corners of my heart
I never give enough or learn truth from the start
All these mixed emotions come flooding through my mind
Another door has opened and it locks me in from behind

Where do I go
What do I do
Who do I tell
I’m lost here with you

Where is the start
What have we saved
Who knows the reasons
The promises we made

Another door without reason
Another door without meaning
Another door without wanting
Another door without needing
Another door

©10/28/14 Bruce Clifford

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The Rewards Of Genealogy

While researching my Family Tree
I have found rewards in genealogy
Being in touch with Cousins near and far
Sharing family stories and finding out who they are
You just never know who you might hear from today
A cousin you never knew might have something to say
They could be interested in the Family Tree
And the rewards of researching genealogy

Some may be a close Cousin, some might not be
Striking up a friendship, they always write to me
To me it comes as a surprise to hear
From a Cousin who could be far or near

There are so many branches on the Family Tree
I never know which one will be in touch with me
It's like a Gold Mine when contact is made
You can help them, they can come to your aide

I've been in touch with many throughout my research time
Many have become close and have touched this heart of mine
As I've researched branches on my Family Tree
I find there comes the Rewards Of Genealogy
©Sept 30, 2014 Bud Lemire
Author Note: The rewards of genealogy is not only finding out who your ancestors were 
and who their families are, but also finding out who your cousins are. 
Once you find some Cousins who are still alive, you make contact, 
and you a common love of the family you each come from. 
You get to share stories of those they spent time with, those you spent time with, 
and those you've heard stories about. These special moments are the rewards of genealogy.

Click on Bud Lemire for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.


I like to give gifts.

There’s pleasure in the giving,
Pleasure in the joy I see
When they’re received,

Pleasure in anticipating joy,
Rejoicing that I love someone
Enough to give the gift.

But perhaps the most
Rewarding gift that I can give
Is when I give away my hurt,

My fear, my grieving;
That I give to no one else –
Giving it is done just for myself.

©2014 John I. Blair

Click on John I. Blair  for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Really Me

My outline has changed
From day to day,
Occasionally in
A drastic way.

But down inside,
I stay the same -
Sometimes with a
Different name.

My heart, mind, and
Indeed - my soul -
As those three maintain,
My body grows old.

Wishes, desires, and
What else is needed
Get lost in the process
And go unheeded.

Yet, there I am
Within, hidden deep -
There's the real me
I shall keep.

©10/08/2014 Mary E. Adair

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Looking at The Night

Each evening late
Far past the time
For finding bed

I take my way
Into the darkness,
Looking at the night.

Although I make excuse
Of checking weather,
Moving sprinklers,

Putting out the trash,
I’m not there for chores;
I think it’s more to tend

What some might call my soul.
I stand still, let my eyes
Adjust to lack of light,

And simply stare . . .
At moon, stars,
Clouds, trees, sky.

I listen to the birds,
The breeze, to autos
On the street nearby.

I think about my life,
The world, the universe
Around me, easier to see

In soothing dimness
Than in the blinding day,
Somehow much more real;

And those moments
Standing in the night alone
Make all else right.

©2014 John I. Blair

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Autumn's Journey

The leaves are changing on the tree
Autumn leaves fall upon me
Orange and yellow and shades of red
The leaves have fallen and are dead
Through the winter the tree is bare
As the wind blows through the air
See the shape of the tree
It is bare, but oh not me

I put more clothes on in this season
Lower temperatures is the reason
The tree shows us that leaves will die
We call it The Fall, and never ask why

New leave are born in the Spring
By summer the tree has everything
The leaves are back, the tree is fully dressed
Covered with leaves and looks its best

Just like the leaves that fall and die
Our own lives will pass on by
In the Spring we'll be born once more
When our journey takes us to Heaven's Shore
©Oct 10, 2014 Bud Lemire
Author Note:Just like the leaves on the tree,
we too have a cycle we follow.
We die, and are renewed in Heaven
and start all over again.

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The Real Me

Photographs and poetry
Look and tell me what you see
Take a look inside my mind
Tell me what it is you find
If you could know what I know
And see the things when they show
Then you would see all that I see
You might understand the real me

If you had lead the life that I did
That made this man out of a kid
Then you might know who I came to be
And you might understand the real me

If you believed all that I believe
Then possibly you wouldn't have to grieve
If you experienced all that I have done
You would understand the true meaning of fun

You are not in my mind, nor in my shoes
What you do know, is just outer news
If you could look inside and see
Then you would know the real me
©Oct 8, 2014 Bud Lemire
Author Note:
Everyone has a “Real Me” hidden inside each of them. Some of our friends and family members only know parts. Sometimes the “Real Me” comes out, and sometimes they only see what they want to see on the outer side. It depends on who you can confide in, and who would think you are crazy for thinking that way. We all need someone who believes that you believe and understands. Someone who makes you whole. Someone who lives in your world, and knows what you know. Many of us don't know the “Real Me” in others. Yet others do.

One thing that makes life better, is accepting the “Real Me” in others for being their real true selves. Deep inside is the “Real Me.” How you use it, is up to you.

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Songs in Time

Music of the past brings me a memory
Present music is a gift of what is meant to be
Future music is exciting to look forward to
Songs from every time are there for you
Memories in a life, songs will take you there
Music of the past, can take you anywhere
To an earlier time, when the words in the song were saying
While inside your mind, the memories were displaying

In the present songs that you listen to
They're in your life to help you through
Fresh and current, alive and vivid to your ears
They will calm and excite you, and take away your fears

Music that we're waiting to be released next week
Enhanced anticipation for something that we seek
What will it sound like, will it sound like they did before
Music that you love to keep up with, and you ask for more

Past, present, and future, music is the key
Touching upon our souls, in sweet harmony
Music is the sound that touches us all the way through
Music guides our soul in everything that we do.
©Oct 5, 2014 Bud Lemire
Author Note: Music is the one thing that has touched me since the
day I was born. It can wake you up and make you feel
like dancing. It can help you go to sleep at night.
It can make you cry. Music is indeed the language
key of the Universe, which everyone loves.

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Sour Turkey

(A Thanksgiving gone bad.)
  I threw up the Turkey, but it wasn't bad
In fact it was the best Turkey that I ever had
Cranberry Sauce and dressing all came up for me
All mixed together, so easily

Then came the dessert, oh that Pumpkin pie
I held onto the toilet, I thought I would die
She said come on over and try this dressing
I had a good taste, but my bowels were pressing

There wasn't any doubt
How long could I hold out
This wasn't what Thanksgiving was about
I just wanted to puke and then shout

Just as I thought, I was done puking for awhile
I spoke too soon, because up came more bile
It was so awful, what could I do
I still had some Turkey that I couldn't chew

The Thanksgiving meal didn't sit well on my tummy
My head kept on bobbing like I was a dummy
In front of the toilet, I unloaded onto my friend
Wishing that this Thanksgiving would come to an end
©11/21/2013, revised ©4/27/2014 Bud Lemire

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Judy Kay

Life can be Lonely sometimes,
you know it's Meant to be
Strife is the only thing
that some people see
Sometimes, we have to be cruel,
we have to be cruel to be kind
there has to be some kind of Fool,
some kind of Fool left behind
The tears of our children
burn lines right into my heart
I'm playing old Love songs,
that hurt, right from the start
Ties that are broken
they take years to repair
Lies that are spoken,
(those words are always there)

This House was a Home, building Love within walls
Now I walk Alone, up and down empty halls
We've torn down the pictures, that we once chose with care
...those marks left behind, 'ain't supposed to be there

So how can we share,
all of our Laughter and Tears
now we 'ain't sharing,
anything but all those Years
Sometimes, we have to be cruel,
we have to be cruel to be kind
there has to be some kind of Fool,
some kind of Fool, left behind.
©2007 Phillip Hennessy
Author's Note:This poem, that came to me, when I was visiting at 
Judy Fay Pelton (Juminar)'s place, there in Tx. 
(Saw her Facebook comments about her heart attack and it reminded me about this. 
 I've had some of those myself, slowed down, and doing well now.) 
The poem, is about her best friend, and when I came back to UK, my friend made it a Song, 
though I don't seem to have a recording of it. 
I'll ask him if he has one, and send it on, if he does.

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We Can Fly

Seagulls, like all birds, remind me that I can fly
When our bodies bring us down, we can always try
We have the wings to fly high on life
We can soar above our fears and strife
Our bodies are just vessels that we wear
Like a coat to protect us from cold air
We use them to learn the most while we're here
We find out nothing is as it seems to appear

There is much below the surface , deep inside of you
Where resides your strength, the soul to help you through
The spirit of all that you are, all that you will ever be
It all depends on how you act, the way in which you see

Sometimes we forget how strong we can truly be
Caught up in a world, there are things you can not see
Our strength can be felt, a sense of knowing
We can tap into, to guide us while we're growing

If you listen closely, you will know and feel
The inner strength, and you will know it's real
Even when our bodies bring us down, we should always try
Just like the Seagulls and the other birds, we'll know we can fly
©Oct 5, 2014 Bud Lemire
Author Note:Inside of us is the soul. It stores our inner strength.
We are much stronger than you can ever imagine.
Our bodies may seem to limit us
from knowing what is beyond the physical.
But look deep within, and feel it. Know it.
It will guide you and give you strength,
and help you to fly.
Believe in it. You can fly!

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There's No Peace

There’s no peace
It’s hard to find
Fighting through this world
Lost inside my mind

There’s no reach
It’s hard to see
If I could give you my word
We would be in mixed company

Have you heard the world’s gone crazy 
They're putting microphones in the sand
Have you heard of the science in the gravy
Each one with an island to defend

There’s no peace
It’s hard to know
Fighting through the day
Another endless road show

There’s no renegade
It’s hard to pretend
If I could give you my word
Then would this be the end

©10/3/14 Bruce Clifford

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Lexi - Chapter 7

Cleanliness is next to cattiness...

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”.

 This time we are going to talk about cleanliness and I don’t mean keeping your human habitation clean which brings up a whole bunch of issues involving the nasty sucking monster and filling the air with things that smell odd and make us chosen ones sneeze.  No, I am talking about chosen one’s cleanliness which involves a number of things such as a clean litter box, clean water bowls, clean water and clean and tidy fur.

I just mentioned the nasty sucking monster and that you use it for cleaning.   Now I take issue with the nasty sucking monster.  Once a week the sucking monster comes out from its hiding place and everything gets moved around and the monster starts its loud noise and its nasty sucking.

 Now I have never been attacked by the sucking monster, so why do I not like it?

 Well that is simple and goes back to something I have mentioned over and over again. And that is my hearing and how sensitive it is.   Remember I can hear your heart beat. Now keeping this in mind think how loud the sucking monster sounds to us chosen ones.
 Ok you are having a bad time with that. Think of it this way:

 Go stick your head next to one of those transports that flies. Listen to the sound it makes as it gets ready to leap into the sky.   It hurts your hearing and makes a ringing sound in your ears.   That’s what the sucking monster feels and sounds like to us chosen ones.

And that’s just the start of the issues I have with the sucking monster.  Another issue is that it kicks up a fine dust that you humans can’t see but we chosen ones can see.  I watched my human last week take the sucking monster apart and I was so hoping that he was going to kill it and throw it away.   But instead he took the front out and there was a round bush thing that had my fur all over it.  At first I thought it had sucked up another chosen one but when I sniffed it smelt of me so I guess that’s where my fur goes that I lose?   Anyway I got a good look at how the sucking monster works and I understand it better now and I know how to defeat it.

 But do I defeat it? My human seems to enjoy using the sucking monster and it does pick up and eat almost anything that is lying around on the floor.

But I now know what I can do to defeat it and I have a plan.  My plan is to keep all my fur that I lose in one place hidden from my human until I have such a great pile of my fur that it will choke and clog the sucking monster and kill it.   It may take me months or even a year or two but I will choke and clog that sucking monster with my fur so that it can’t make that awful noise that hurts me ears.  I will have my revenge on it and I will kill it.
When I do have my revenge on the sucking monster I will have to find away for my human to keep the floor and carpet clean and free of things that fall to the ground. And I know what he can do.  I’ve seen human sweep the floor before he washes it. Well if he had a brush that had heavier bush things he could sweep the carpet and that would mean that he would not have to get a new sucking monster which is what he would do when I kill the sucking monster.

 The thing is there are other options my human has to cleaning the floor other than the sucking monster.   But the sucking monster is not really what I want to talk about when I talk about cleanliness.

 Now the cleanliness of my litter box.

 The thing is that I have a far superior sense of smell to you humans.  As I have mentioned I can smell the change in your breath or the sweat on your skin or the mere hint or thunder in the air.   You see we chosen ones are superior to you humans in many different ways and I am not just talking about our sense of smell nor that our hearing is so beyond yours that we can hear the heartbeat of animals that are 20 or 30 feet away.

 But our sense of smell brings up an important issue that I wish to bring to your attention.

 The other night while my human was away I was reading my email and I received an email from a chosen one called She Who Sings. Her human calls her Tiger.  She Who Sings said that her human treats her very well other than leaving her alone for a long time each day. She Who Sings said that her litter box was not as clean as she liked and it was starting to hurt her nose and sting a little when she uses her litter box.   She Who Sings went onto say that she does not want to upset her human by peeing where she should not but its getting to the point that something needs to be done about it.

 Now as I just said our sense of smell is far beyond yours as mere humans. But that’s not your fault. That’s just the way you are and you can’t help being mere humans.  The problem for She Who Sings is that her human might not even notice let alone smell how bad the litter box smells to She Who Sings.

So what can you as a human do to stop our litter boxes becoming smelly to us chosen ones?  Well there are a number of things you can do.  One is empty it as soon as we have used it. This stops the dried pee from smelling and the poop from smelling.  Next you can clean all the litter out once a week and when it’s sunny you can spread it out on some plastic and let it sit in the sun. The reason for this helps is that the ultraviolet rays sterilizes any microbes that might be living in the litter and it’s the microbes that make it smell. You can do the same with the litter box.

However there is an issue here as if you have our litter out in the sun we can’t use our litter box.  While writing the above I had a sudden idea. If you have two or three litter boxes you could always have one that is clean, one that is nearly clean and one outside in the sun being sterilized by the ultraviolet rays. And that way the smelly litter box issues would be fixed.
 I need suggestions for She Who Sings what she can do to get her human to understand what is wrong with her litter box and how to fix the issue. Please feel free to let me know what can be done to help She Who Sings.

You humans need to understand how important a clean litter box is to us chosen ones. After all the last thing you want is us pooping or peeing where we should not. That would start a whole load of issues that you and we chosen ones really don’t want to go too.  The thing is that if you keep our litter boxes clean we won’t have a problem and therefore you won’t have a problem and we can all get along without a litter box issue.  Ok so keeping a litter box clean does go into the area of cleanliness but it’s not the main topic I wish to talk about.

Ok let’s talk about water dish and food bowl cleanliness. Why is keeping our water clean and our food dish clean so important?  While we have a far strong digestive system than you humans do there are things that unsettle our stomachs.   But I’m not going to go into that. Well not yet anyway.  Keeping our water dish and food bowl is clean is so important.  Water most of all should be fresh and clean.  In a perfect world I would have a water dish that changed itself hourly and that the dish was always clean.

But this is not a perfect world. It’s not run by us and that’s why it’s not perfect. Not that we want to run the world.  A clean water dish is important and clean water even more important.  From what I have been told and from what I have seen using the computer, water if not clean, can make us chosen ones sick, much as dirty water can make you sick.  A clean water dish stops things from living in the water and that keeps us healthy.

 I will admit that in the heat of summer I do like ice in my water.  You see I don’t like warm water as warm water is the ideal breeding ground for things in water that can me us chosen ones sick.  So keeping our water dishes clean and full of fresh water is important. 

 The same can be said about our food bowls.  While it’s true that we chosen ones can eat things that would make you humans sick we can get sick from a food bowl that is not kept clean.   Upset stomachs from eating bad food can lead to all kinds of issues such as not making it to our litter box or making our litter box so smelly that we don’t want to use it.

 You might think the smell of a dirty litter box turns your stomach now think what it does to us with our sense of smell.  Oh we are back to keeping our litter box clean and fresh smelling.  While we are back on the topic of clean litter boxes I want to bring up something and it’s not a fur ball.  Let’s say you clean our litter box daily or better yet you clean it after every time we use it.

 Pee has an odor. I don’t care if its human or chosen ones pee it still has an odor. Now if the odor of the pee changes or the color changes you might want to think about getting us check by your vet.  The reason is that there is a healthy odor and an unhealthy odor. There is also a healthy color and an unhealthy color.  Normally a weak odor means we are healthy. But if the odor becomes stronger it means one of two things.  Either you need to clean our litter box or we are not well.

 The same applies to color. A light color means we are fine. But if the color becomes darker or even has blood in it then that means we are not well and you should take us to the vet. The darker the color the worse things are.

 However sometimes what we drink can effect the color and smell of our pee much as it can with you humans.  The main thing is that if you keep our water dish and food bowl clean you won’t have too much of an issue with a smelly litter box as a clean water dish or food bowl means we won’t get an upset stomach. And if we don’t get an upset stomach we won’t get a smelly litter box. Well as long as you humans keep our litter box clean.

Ok now cleanliness.
  What you might think of cleanliness is different from what we chosen ones think of cleanliness.  I think you what you call grooming we chosen ones call cleanliness.  Now cleanliness is important to us chosen ones.  It’s not only about making our fur shine but it’s about removing dirt and fur when we are shading. But cleanliness is more than just licking our fur to keep it clean and shiny. 

Cleanliness is about the whole body, my ears my tail other parts of me and my claws.  Clean claws are just as important as clean other parts.  We chosen ones use our claws for many different things. Not just for ripping into flesh or couches. We use our claws for protection, for grabbing things, for cleaning ourselves, for testing to see if something is hot or cold. We use our claws to hold things, for catching things or throwing things back when we play.  So clean claws are as important as clean fur.

 Now clean ears.  If you have ever watched us when we are having a tongue bath we lick one of our front paws and then slide it up and down the area we are cleaning.  We might not work our paw into our ears but we clean around our ears and when we push our ears back so the look like they are inside out we clean the inside of the outer ear.  By using our front paws we can clean our whole face in the manner and thus keep our face nice and clean.  This includes keeping our nose clean as having a dirty nose means it can get clogged easily with dirt and dust. And having a dirty nose means we sneeze and that means we can’t smell things.  And not being able to smell things is not good.  So when we are cleaning ourselves it is important remember that we are doing it not only for ourselves but for you too.

 After all you don’t want us to be smelly and dirty.

 Oh let me explain about cleaning.

 If you have watched us you will have seen that we follow the same pattern when we clean.  Let’s start of with me cleaning my head.  Now let’s say I am going to clean the left side of my head first.  First I lick my left paw until it’s nice and damp. I don’t want to get my paw too wet as that would make my fur wet and wet fur attaches dirt and dust.  So once my left paw is nice and damp but not too damp I would bring it up to just below my left ear and move it backward over my ear. Doing this cleans my ear as I move my paw over my ear I clean the inside of my ear. Once over the top of my ear I would bring my paw back over the ear cleaning the backside of my ear. I would do this as often as I feel my ear needs it.

 ,P>Next I would lick my paw again making sure its damp but not to damp. Then I would slide my paw down the left side of my face so that I pass down towards my nose.  I pay special attention to my whiskers as my whiskers are very important.  You see whickers are not just about balance or being able to tell how wide something is. Whiskers are very important to us chosen ones.  In many ways whiskers are as important as sight, hearing and a sense of smell. But I will go into those at another time as they don’t have anything to do with cleanliness.

Yes I know going off topic is something I normally do.
  Ok back to cleaning my head. Having cleaned my ears, whiskers and nose on my left side I would then move to my right paw and the right side of my head and repeat the whole process of cleaning my ears, whiskers and nose. 

Have you noticed that I have missed something on my head?

 Ok now to clean my eyes.  Again licking my left paw I would pass my paw over my eyes and my eye whiskers.  Now having cleaned my whole head I would start on my legs starting with my front paws.  This is always done by licking in the same directions as the fur grows. True you will see us pulling on our fur from time to time and this is normally because there is dirt deep down and by pulling on our fur it helps to shake the dirt off our fur.

 Now having cleaned my head, legs and body I would move to my tail.  This is pretty much the same as cleaning our bodies but the only differences being that we can lick and clean both sides without having to move from side to side.  Again our tails are important to us. Ok so not as important as our eyes ears nose and whickers but important none the less.

 Now am I done on cleaning?

 No I am not.

 Lastly my claws.  Claws are tricky to clean as they are sharp and sometimes have rough edges.  I have to spread my toes wide when cleaning and you would be surprised at how much dust and dirt gets between my toes.  But the claws now they are tricky as I have just said.  You might have seen your chosen one biting and tugging on their claws. And claws are tricky to clean.  The problem is that we have over claws and under claws. True they are all the same claw but they come in layers.  The trick is when removing the over claw is to pull hard enough to remover the over claw but not so hard that you remover the under claw.

 Ok now I have covered cleanliness.

 Just a quick question for you humans.

Did you notice that when I started to explain cleaning I started at my head? The question is why did I start with my head and work my way down my body?

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