Thursday, December 1, 2022

Editor's Corner

By Mary E. Adair

December 2022

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus
when my mother took me to see him in a department store,
and he asked for my autograph."

– Shirley Temple

December with its holidays, mine is Christmas, can be so nostalgic that one may find oneself in tears more than pleasant dreamy memories. This has been a difficult issue to assemble with the recent death of Dayvid whose column "Reflections of the Day" touched so many of us; and of course his loss reminded of others we miss now like Phillip Hennessy whose poems caught your mind as well as your attention. However, both always found a way to add cheer to their life, and so shall we for this merry season.

Being nostalgic also means honoring tradition and that is why you will find "Tiny Miracle" by yours truly, appearing once more among the other poetry. Alas, our John Blair has not recouped to the point of penning his insightful, cleverly nuanced poems, but we do have four from Bud Lemire, "Thanksgiving Memories," "I Honor You!" "The Key to The Universe," and "My Ears." Walt Perryman's poems are "Christmas Eve," "A West Texas Tumbleweed Christmas," (both seasonal encores) and "My Three Daughters." Bruce Clifford adds "When We Were Young" and "I Don't Know What To Do." Mattie Lennon shares his tribute to "Ben" his long cherished, little Bichon Frisé.

Because Christmas is all about family, the poem "My Parents" composed by your editor's and Melinda Cohenour's mother Lena May Joslin Carroll, is accompanied by a photo of the couple as we always knew them. However, due to the miracle of photographs, here are pics of them taken at the 1904 World Fair in Saint Louis, Missouri. The descriptions for these were supplied by Melinda Cohenour.

Grandpa James Arthur "Artie" Joslin (on the right away from the moon's face) with his best friend (who would lose his life overseas in World War 1). This photo taken at the Fair before Grandpa and Grandma Joslin were married.

Grandma Carrie Edyth Bullard Joslin (dark auburn hair, parted in the middle, sitting closest to the moon's face) at the Fair. Grandma and Grandpa Joslin attended the Fair with their best friends. These photos were taken before their marriage.

"A Mother's Lessons" by Danielle Cote Serar, discusses how she dismayed herself when faced with her entire househod falling ill, and how she managed to cope. "On Trek" by Judith Kroll, poetically expounds on Thanksgiving priorities.

"Introspective" by Thomas O'Neill, blesses us with one of his tales with a happy ending. "Irish Eyes" by our Dublin based Mattie Lennon, is all about sound in many guises and how author John Hoban fits the subject.

"Sifoddling Along," by Marilyn Carnell, shares her realization that in certain ways her life and she herself can profess achievement. "Woo Woo," by Pauline Evanosky, admits she can also hit that valley called "worn out."

"Cooking with Rod” by Roderick Cohenour, is an encore of one of his very best Christmas solutions, although it should rightfully be known as a celebration. He is to be hospitalized again for tests and inevitable surgery. Prayers surely welcome.  Meanwhile, his wife Melinda Cohenour has included a new twist that has evolved in DNA testing in her column "Armchair Genealogy."

Walt Perryman is also the author of the continuing tale that reveals the compositions titled "Honey Dog Tales." Chapter Four is in this issue for our readers to enjoy!

We continue to thank our co-founder and webmaster, Mike Craner, whose knowlege and expertise keeps Pencil Stubs Online actually online. He does it well as we are now in our 25th year. Merry Christmas, Susie and Mike!

Look for us in January 2023.

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

Armchair Genealogy

By Melinda Cohenour

Everyone loves a mystery, right? DNA Matches Pose Their Own Questions.

Ancestry has advanced their latest "new and improved" wrinkle in presenting DNA Matches: the technology now permits the matches to be divided to reflect the parental source (maternal or paternal) EVEN WHEN PARENTS WERE NOT TESTED.

As previously reported in this column, your author arranged some time ago for Ancestry DNA test kits to be provided to my daughter and to her nephew, my son's firstborn in lieu of testing his father. This was planned as a means of gathering DNA Matches related to my first husband, the father of my children, whose own parentage was a complete mystery to him. John Bradshaw was abandoned at birth to the Miami-Dade Orphanage, later adopted by the woman who claimed to have been his birth mother and who never admitted she was not. The mystery of his parentage bedeviled him all his life. I vowed to do everything possible to solve that mystery.

The interesting aspect to Ancestry's newest attribution of parental sourcing is that not every match falls into one of the two columns, Maternal line or Paternal line. My daughter's Maternal line Matches currently number 30,685 (mind-boggling, right?). Her Paternal line Matches number 39,983.

Some very few (only 3 currently) appear in a Both column: one quite understandably is her nephew. Two more are more mysterious, however. One, a female, actually shows a Common Ancestor BUT the wrinkle here is she apparently descends from a known Maternal line, the GODWIN line. A brief review has not revealed a connection to a Paternal line other than a lone match to a recently discovered half-sister to my daughter (!)

The third match in this Both category is a male and the name is totally unfamiliar and his tree is quite limited (less than 80 folks) and not a single name is the same as any in our tree (?)

Ancestry covers this question in this way:

    Why are some matches related to both parents?
    They could descend from both parents, be distant relatives who have segments matching both sides, or come from a small population (like an island) that both parents belong to.

Logic tells me Ancestry must have programmed an algorithm that compares chromosome segments to Matches known (or now attributed) to Maternal segments AND Paternal segments. A review of the Shared Matches reveals a scattering of Paternal, Maternal, and Unassigned folks.

Melissa has 2,724 Matches in the Unassigned category which is explained by Ancestry as either having been processed after their last update or that they have too little information to categorize as Maternal or Paternal. It is suggested a later update might place these tests in their proper category.

Ancestry has also busted out their Beta version of the Chromosome Painter, which has met with welcome acceptance by subscribers to competing DNA testing venues. I have yet to explore this latest play toy, however, so will refrain from putting forth an opinion.

It is always fascinating to view the latest DNA Matches which are presented with closest relationship to the most distant. The past two months have been devoted to an attempt to ascertain where the Common Ancestor is lurking for three new Close Cousin matches that popped up. A mother, her son, and her daughter all test close to Melissa. Examination of their Shared Matches confirms these three are Johnny's side and the mother must share a fairly recent ancestor with Melissa.

Another mystery brought about by DNA testing.

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Cooking with Rod


By Rod Cohenour

Christmas Posole - December 2015

      In Albuquerque where I grew up, the holiday season was magic! Great food, marvelous parties, incredible home decorations featuring traditional luminarias, colorful wreathes, beautiful dried chile ristras, and fabulous music.

      This is my favorite time of the year. New Mexico is aptly titled the Land of Enchantment and this time of year is proof positive that love, family, good food, and merriment are cure-alls for any blues or fears that have plagued in the past. Snow on the pines, air scented with the distinct aroma of pinon logs in an adobe oven (classically called the “horno”), the forest green of the pines beautifully contrasted with the rich red of the chile ristra that hangs from the exposed vigas of the classic New Mexican casa. “Bien venido!” (Welcome!) “Mi casa es su casa!” (My home is your home) is the traditional message to family and friends and especially true at this time of year.

      Tradition has it that if you eat your Christmas Posole before New Years Eve you will have a blessed and prosperous New Year. For me, I was simply content with just eating this incredible meal. I am sharing this recipe with you and wishing each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Or, perhaps I should say, “Feliz Navidad y Prospero Nuevo Ano!”


  • 2 lbs boneless pork loin or shoulder, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2-4 Tbsp vegetable oil (no olive oil for this recipe)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chile powder
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or 32 oz carton)
  • 2 cans (29 oz) cooked hominy corn, drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 batch Salsa Roja (recipe below)

Toppings and Sides:

  • Finely chopped cabbage
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Thin red onion slices
  • Avocado slices
  • Lime wedges
  • Fried tortilla strips or tostadas
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Shredded cheddar or Mexican Mix cheese (Colby Jack, Monterey and Cheddar blend)
  • 2 dozen flour tortillas, warm
  • Sweet creamery butter

Season pork cubes with cumin and chile powder. Heat vegetable or canola oil over medium-high heat. (NOTE: I do not like to use olive oil for a Mexican soup because it imparts the wrong flavor.) Add seasoned pork and cook until browned on all sides, working in batches if needed to keep the pot from being too crowded. Keep heat on medium to prevent scorching but allow proper carmelization to begin. Watch carefully and turn often. Make sure all surfaces are browned.

Stir in water and chicken broth, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits that might be clinging to the bottom of the pot. Add hominy corn and bay leaves.

Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and let simmer, uncovered, until pork is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Just before serving, stir in salsa Roja and simmer for 10-15 minutes to heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Once the Posole is ready, set out an array of small dishes with various toppings in the middle of the table. Serve the Posole piping hot in large bowls, and let everyone customize their bowls as they please.

Tradition calls for this to be served with warm flour tortillas and plenty of butter.

Salsa Roja

  • 1 (one) 14 oz. container frozen Bueno red chile concentrate
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (Mexican, if possible)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Juice of 1 lime (or 1 Tbsp lime concentrate)

Set aside frozen Bueno concentrate and permit to begin defrosting. Heat the oil in a small skillet set over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until onion is lightly golden, about 3-5 minutes. Add oregano and cumin, and continue cooking until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the Bueno concentrate and onion mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Process until you have a smooth puree, adding lime juice as needed to create a smooth consistency.

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Woo Woo

By Pauline Evanosky

When You Get Worn Out

People get worn out. Stress does it. Overwork does it. Worry does it. Getting sick does it. It just happens. The key, though, is to figure out that you are worn out and then, if you can, do something about it.

If the course of your life is constantly and consistently an upward trajectory, then natural law says what goes up must come down. All it took was an apple falling on his head, and Newton figured that out. Or so the stories go.

Whether it is stress, overwork, or worry, they all can be evident in the upward trajectory of someone’s life. Many people combat these stress-filled moments by trying to balance the scales quickly by doing something that might give them a momentary kick in the pants. Like having a cigarette, having a drink, or eating something full of calories. Chocolate comes to mind. Or there are drugs, but I’m not going to mention those because I feel my audience doesn’t do those things. Am I right?

Nature has a handy dandy solution to anything that stresses you out. You will get sick. Or you will have a breakdown. Or you will become the crankiest person in sight. Or, God forbid, you will have an accident. That’s just the way nature takes care of it.

It sounds like having a couple of long-term stress relievers up your sleeve might be a good thing. The best thing, in my opinion, is to do some introspective work on yourself and try to get an answer to why you are allowing yourself to be driven towards an untenable precipice. This would be your journal. For Your Eyes Only. You don’t have to have a lock and key for it. It’s just yours, and it is private. Hide it under the mattress if you want to. Or open up a blank word document and have at it. You don’t even have to save it. Just delete the whole page when you are done. It is important to ask yourself hard questions and allow yourself to answer them honestly. In my own experience, one question ravels off in many directions. You may not ever think you are getting close to the answer, but you will relieve the pressure on this nasty boil in your life.

I am not buying the idea that saying, “That’s just the way it is.” Or “That’s life. Times are tough.” Times will always be tough, and if that’s the way it is, maybe that’s your view of the universe, but other people can see the glass half full rather than half empty.

So, here is an example for you. The question is, “Why do I feel so bad?” Here is a possible answer, “I don’t know.”

This is progress. In comes the next question, “Why do you think you feel so bad?” And a possible answer is, “I don’t know.”

Fine. This might not look like progress, but bear with me on this. There is an answer. “There must be a reason. Why don’t you just make something up?” An answer, “Okay, my boss is horrible.”

“Oh, tell me more,” You say, “Everything I do, she says, is not right. It doesn’t matter what I do. Even the way I am clocking in is wrong. I feel really bad about this.”

“Is this happening to other people too?” You say, “Yes, it is. None of us know what is going on.”

“Then, something is going on with your boss. She might be having health issues. She might be under additional stress from her bosses. Maybe something is going on with her personal life. Maybe, just maybe, there is something you could do to help her. Rather than acting like the injured party, why don’t you put on a different hat? A hat that sees her as a human being who might be having a problem.”

You mull that over some. Now, have a look at these voices in your head; the ones that pose all these questions. That was you. That voice was your voice. Sometimes people call it your inner voice. This part of you does know all the answers. It might not tell you the direct answer to something, but it will do a good job of leading you away from the brick wall you’ve been staring at and suggesting alternate ways of thinking about something.

Sometimes I just don’t want to do the introspective work that will ease my stress. That is when I have backup plans I can turn to. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of writing on several fronts. I am trying to finish a book for young people looking for work. This is the third book in a series. So, I’m trying to finish the third book, pop another 17,000 words into the second book, and polish up the first one. All three books need attention and need to be finished. I need to find snappy titles for them, nice covers for them, and get them on the market.

This is proving stressful for me. The idea occurred to me yesterday as winter sets in my husband could use a pair of fingerless gloves. I began these gloves for him last winter, and they should be finished so he can use them this season. I love to crochet. This will be a fun thing for me to do. It is not going to answer the question of why I feel so pressured right now but will go a long way toward alleviating the stress.

I know I will finish these books. It is just going to take some time. Wish me luck.

So, consider asking yourself whatever questions are appropriate for you. Consider going into therapy for a little while. Sometimes people who are not so close to your life can draw you out and help to alleviate whatever it is that might be bothering you.

See, the thing is, we are never done growing emotionally. A therapist will be able to accompany you for a little way on this journey. What a therapist does is give you some tools, like journaling or crochet, or even a walk in your neighborhood that will help you cope with stress. You are strong enough to conquer your stress and make a good life for yourself. But, like Newton’s apple, this will all move in the opposite direction someday again. That’s when you go back to your tried and tested tools, or you make another appointment with your therapist.

So, it’s not a hopeless tangle of searching for answers, it is just another step in the right direction. Celebrate moments of life in your life, even if they are small ones. Doing that will help you to get up off of the couch and get moving again.

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By Thomas F. O'Neill

An Abundance In Life

There was a time when Robert Forner had it all, a good paying Job, a nice home, and a reliable car. But the news of the outsourcing of the industrial plant where he worked hit him hard. The company moved its plant to Ecuador for a higher profit margin and Robert found himself without a job. The unemployment checks barely kept him above water and it didn’t take long for all his savings to dry up.

In order to get by he cut corners, he let his homeowner insurance, and his auto insurance lapse. He found himself without health insurance and he felt as if he was on a downward spiral to a place called ‘rock bottom.’

He only had one more biweekly check from his unemployment compensation which added up to six hundred and twenty-three dollars. The night before the money was to be directly deposited into his bank account. He watched his entire world go up in flames. The firefighters were unable to save his home or his car which was parked in his garage. The photographs of the life he once lived were consumed in the flames as well.

Now he was homeless.

He answered the fire marshal's questions the next day but the cause of the fire was not yet known. It was learned in a matter of time though that it was caused by a faulty circuit breaker that Robert installed a month earlier. With no insurance to fall back on he found himself in dire straights. The road ahead of him looked bleak and he was constantly thinking about his uncertain future.

Embarrassed for being in the situation he found himself in, he also did not want to burden others with his misfortune. He did not turn to others in his community for help. He put the entire matter on his own shoulders. He also considered the fact that he was never married and did not have a family to support. But at the same time, he felt very much alone with nothing more than the clothes on his back.

There was nothing holding him to his hometown because everything he ever owned, all his material possessions, were now gone. With the little money, he had left he boarded a Greyhound bus. He was now hitting the road. He had no particular destination in mind. His money unfortunately did not last long.

He tried finding employment with temporary agencies but not having a phone or a permanent address. He did not have much luck securing a job, a job he desperately needed to survive.

Eventually Robert found himself living with society’s unseen, the so-called downtrodden people, who live, day to day, on the street. He went from shelter to shelter and at times he waited in the back of restaurants in order to root through their garbage for scraps of food. The clothes on his back became worn and dirty. The hair on his head and face became knotted up from being unkempt. He took on the appearance of the shadow people, the street people, the so-called bums. He was no longer recognizable from the man he once was.

He began to view his situation as some sort of punishment but in a way, he was simply punishing himself. He at times went to various churches for help but they all seemed to have the same rhetoric. He continuously heard the same words, “we do not have the resources or the funding to assist you at this time.” In a way, he felt he was being served right though for foolishly losing everything he once owned.

As his days on the street moved into weeks and months, he found himself more and more being part of society’s forgotten souls. He spent many nights under an overpass with others who were down and out. They used a large medal drum as a makeshift stove. They washed their clothes in a river which was also their toilet. Robert hung out with these colorful characters that were fending for themselves. He tried to pass some of his time away by keeping a daily journal of his day-to-day activities.

The police one night came through with flashlights and threatened to have them locked up for vagrancy. The vagrants moved on and Robert found himself sleeping alone behind dumpsters.

He was told by other homeless people about the dangers of sleeping inside the dumpsters. Some of the homeless in the past was accidentally killed by being crushed to death by sanitation trucks. Robert on the other hand chose those locations because, in the darkness of night, no one sees him, or bothers him while he sleeps. One dumpster in particular that he inhabited was behind a flower shop.

The flower shop is owned by Lillian Snodgrass a divorcee and mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl named Megan. They also love and care for a six-year-old golden retriever named Lacy.

Lillian’s former husband left her shortly after she became pregnant with Megan. She is struggling now to make ends meet through her flower shop. She chose to start the business on her own because it gives her the freedom to spend her days with her daughter. She also enjoys making her customers happy and she gets great satisfaction in knowing that she is working for herself.

Her little daughter Megan is a curious child who loves placing flowers into the jars and smelling them. She also enjoys the attention she receives from the various customers. She is her mother’s little helper and co-owner of their very own flower shop.

Twice a week in the early morning Megan would watch the garbage truck lift their dumpster in the air and empty the contents into the back of a sanitation truck. Lacy their golden retriever protects little Megan by growling and barking at the sanitation workers.

Being two and a half years old it didn’t take Megan long to figure out how to unleash the screen door behind their flower shop. One morning Megan and Lacy went out back to the dumpster. Robert was then awakened by something warm and moist moving across his nose. He soon realized that it was a golden retriever licking his face as he slept.

He quickly took notice of the toddler looking at him as the sanitation truck began to back up in order to lift the dumpster. The golden retriever growled and barked away at the truck. She was simply protecting her territory and little Megan. Lillian distracted by a customer was completely unaware that Megan was outside behind the shop.

The sanitation workers continued backing their truck. They were unaware that little Megan was directly behind them. The sanitation workers ignored the barking dog so Robert quickly ran over and grabbed the little girl.

Lillian went out to see what the commotion was all about. She saw the sanitation truck back up over the homeless man who was cradling her daughter, Megan, in his arms.

Letting out a gut-wrenching scream as she began pounding on the sanitation truck, Lillian yelled for the sanitation workers to stop. The truck slowly moved forward. Lacy also concerned for Megan ran underneath the truck and began licking the little girl's face.

“Who the hell are you?” Lillian asked Robert looking past his disheveled appearance and bad odor.

“The little girl was about to be pinned between the dumpster and the truck,” he told Lillian, “and that is why I grabbed her the way I did.”

She immediately said to him almost without thought, “let me help you,” the thought of a homeless man saving her daughter was playing on her mind. Her daughter’s life, after all, was worth more to her than all her worldly possessions.

“I don’t want to burden you,” he said, “not with my problems.”

The sanitation workers saw nothing more than a bum in Robert.

”Look,” said one of the sanitation workers, “if we see you here again we will call the police.”

As Lillian looked upon Robert’s disheveled appearance. She saw something, deep within. What she saw was compassion and deep caring warmth. It was something she hasn’t seen in a person in a very long time and her heart went out to him, “I can’t bear it,” she said, “seeing you sleeping on the street.”

She took him in, cut his hair, shaved him, and found some of her former husband’s clothes for him to wear. They were a few sizes to big but they were at least clean. She let him shower as she prepared something for him to eat. As the warm water cleansed Robert’s body, “I haven’t had a shower in eight months,” he thought to himself, “How could I ever repay her for her kindness.”

“Wow, what a big difference,” she said as she gazed at the cleaned-up Robert. “You can sleep on our couch until you get back on your feet.”

As he ate he told her his life story.

“Couldn’t the churches help you?” she asked him.

“They told me that they didn’t have the resources to help,” he told her.

“What about social services?” she asked.

“Well not being a resident of this county. I was told there is a long waiting list,” he said.

“That’s nuts, so you are then forced to live on the street,” she said, “You have no family or friends that can help you?”

“I don’t want to burden them, just like I don’t want to burden you,” he told her, “not with my issues.”

“Families help one another,” she said, “when my husband left me I had no choice but to turn to my family, for help, and they helped me.”

“I got myself into this mess,” he said, “It’s not other people’s problem.”

“Well I can’t have you living on the street,” she said, “I wasn’t raised that way, especially, after you grabbed and pulled my Megan out of the way of that sanitation truck. If you weren’t there she would have been crushed to death.”

As she poured her daughter and Robert a glass of Ice tea, “she’s my entire life,” she said referring to her daughter with deep emotion, “she’s the reason I get out of bed in the morning. I couldn’t live without her. I will help you get back on your feet. This is the least I could do for what you did.”

Little Megan walked over to Robert and worked her way onto his lap as he drank his Ice tea, “well she doesn’t have a problem with you here,” Lillian said to Robert.

She was surprised to see her daughter take to Robert so quickly. Even Lacy who is very protective of them took an instant liking to him. She was far from being well off with her business. She was struggling to provide for her daughter and she had very little. She shared everything through everything she had with Robert.

It didn’t take her long to realize that Robert was truly a good person. He was bright and a caring person. He was not the bum that he appeared to be in his past. She was glad that he no longer had to fend for himself, day to day, on the street. As far as Lillian is concerned that life is behind him now.

To show his appreciation for her kindness he began to help her with her flower shop. She also goes out of her way for him. She purchases the little things that he needs, like razors, and shampoo. She also buys him clothes but most importantly. Her daughter, Megan, adores him and he adores both of them in return.

He enjoys taking Megan for walks at a nearby park with lacy. It was just one of his ways of being there for them, completely there; it was also a way of returning the kindness.

Lillian’s former husband is always in the back of her mind. As far as she’s concerned he is truly the bum, not Robert. The former husband has always been full of himself and he is never there for them. She felt pretty much abandoned but she and her daughter went on with their lives.

Robert on the other hand seemed down to earth. It was as if his experiences on the street humbled him in many ways. He has a much deeper understanding and a deeper appreciation for what he now has, which is a much better life.

As Robert was walking through the park with Lillian, Megan, and their golden retriever,

“Weren’t you scared at night living on the street?” Lillian asked him.

“Well it wasn’t so much fear that bothered me,” he said, “it was the memories of what I once had, my home, my car, the roof over my head. I was constantly reminded of what I lost. Not having a place of my own was worse than fear.”

“I can’t imagine having to live like that,” she said, “no one should have to live like that.”

“But through your kindness and through your generous caring soul,” he said, “I have gained much more than what I have lost.”

“You saying that makes me feel as if we are supposed to be together in some way,” she said, “almost as if I am supposed to help you.”

“Every human being enters the world like a tourist,” he said, “with mystical baggage,” he then threw a stick for Lacy to retrieve, “some simply come into this world with more luggage than others.”

“I never heard it put that way before,” she said laughing.

“In order to truly live,” he said, “we must discard our baggage.” Lacy quickly ran back with the stick, and as he threw the stick once again, he said, “the baggage inhibits us from truly finding joy in life. I am just beginning to understand that now.”

“Do I have a lot of baggage,” she asked him laughing showing off her girlish figure.

“No I think you have it all together,” he said with humor in his voice.

“So what do you mean by baggage?” she asked him.

“We are the sum total of all our experiences,” he said, “I don’t think we come into this world like a clean slate. I think there is residue from past lived experiences.”

“Past lived experiences,” she said, “you mean past lives?”

“It’s a possibility that makes sense to me,” he said, “we all come into the world with issues that must be resolved in order to grow and move on.”

“That makes sense,” she said, “so do you believe in soul mates,” she asked.

“Soul mates grow from one another,” he said, “and live in each other's hearts.”

“I guess that is a ‘yes’ answer,” she said laughing, “I like how you put things together so that I could even understand.”

She enjoyed their daily walks together and their daily conversations. He made her think about the things she rarely thought about. But most importantly they were learning more about each other and the two life paths that are now merging into one.

He continued his daily journal writing as well of his day-to-day thoughts. The writing helped him gain a deeper grasp of his lived experience. As the days progressed he grew closer and closer to his new family.

The customers have grown to like Robert as well because he goes out of his way to please them. Lillian began to notice that many of her customers are going out of their way not just to buy flowers but to talk to Robert.

One day Lillian saw Robert placing a large picture of a Rose on one of the walls in the flower shop, with the quote, “Some see the world as a beautiful Rose, while others focus on its painful thorns.” Robert experienced many painful thorns in his life but now he is recognizing the beauty of the rose.

He was truly grateful for the fact that the pain from his past was healing with time. Through the healing process, he has been given a much greater appreciation of the beauty that surrounds him.

It was out of compassion that Lillian rescued Robert from his life on the street. But that compassion soon turned to a deep love for Robert. He was different from the men in her past. He seemed to go out of his way to find ways to accentuate all that is positive in their relationship. But at the same time, he was a human being working on ways to resolve his issues. Those issues are, “the residue from the past,” as he referred to put it.

He felt he should be contributing more to his new family life which was instantly provided to him. His kind gestures were also continually playing on and resonating with Lillian’s heartstrings.

She was constantly being reminded as she cared for Megan about how her former husband was driven by ambition and money. Robert on the other hand was simply enjoying the moments with her and her daughter. She grew to rely on him and she simply enjoys his company. Those deep intimate conversations with him lacked in her marriage with her former husband. She also cherishes Robert’s sensitivity to her needs and his brightness. He brought out things through their conversations in ways that she never thought about. He wasn’t just caring, he had a spiritual side to him. She simply wanted him around because they both drew the best out of one another.

Robert for the first time in his life is simply enjoying his new and instant family life. He also finds enjoyment in pleasing the customers at the flower shop. He enjoys the daily conversations with the regulars that come there to just talk. The flower shop in a way has become therapeutic for him. Without realizing he is reaching out to the customers and in doing so he is accentuating all that is positive within him. He was no longer, unseen, undetected, a downtrodden homeless person. On the other hand, he never forgot where he once was, and how far he has come in life.

“You seem content, Robert,” a young female customer said to him.

“Well,” he said, “I am.”

“Can you purchase it here,” she asked with a smile.

“Well it’s kind of a secret,” he said teasingly.

“I won’t tell a soul,” she said.

“Well,” he said, he then teasingly leaning up close to her from across the counter. With a soft sincere voice, he said, “in order to find happiness, joy, and love, in this world. You must bring it to others. Then and only then will you be truly content.”

“That makes sense,” she said, “so what is the charge,” she said with a smile.

“You already paid me,” he said.

“That was for the flowers,” she said teasingly.

“You paid me with your presence,” he said, “when you enjoy the company of others, others enjoy your company.”

“Well,” she said, “I will stop by again to pick up your pearls of wisdom,” as she left the flower shop, little Megan worked her way up on a stool behind the counter.

He was now a surrogate father to Megan and he loved her very much. But he also began to think more and more about the friends he made from his life on the streets. He began to go out a few times a week and visit them in the evenings. Some of them returned to living under the highway overpass. He would bring Megan along with him and he would sit and talk with them about the issues of their daily lives.

He grew more and more determined due to his own past experience of having lived on the street. He wants people to know and understand that there is a deep segment of society that is being overlooked and virtually ignored. That segment of society is America’s homeless, a life that he once shared.

Every evening he copied down passages from his journal. He was compiling them for a book he began to write. It was those written accounts of his experiences that motivated him to become an advocate for the homeless.

It was through the success of his book that drove him even further. He went out and organized with civic and local church groups to establish halfway programs. The programs are geared to help individuals who lost their homes due to lack of employment, to find temporary shelter, training, and jobs.

That inner drive and determination on his part not only made those programs a reality but it increased the sales of his book. He and Lillian continue selling flowers though and they continue sharing their life’s Journey.

He finally moved off of Lillian’s couch so that they could continue to share their lives together. With his now-adopted daughter, Megan, and newborn baby girl. They are happily married. He may have lost everything he once owned in his previous life. But he now feels he gained the world in the process.

As Robert was signing his books in a bookstore, Lillian was sitting next to him, “You certainly have come a long way Mr. Forner,” a man said waiting for Robert to sign his book.

“I never would have come this far if it wasn’t for the kindness and generosity of this woman,” Robert said referring to Lillian.

“That kindness was returned in greater fold,” Lillian said, “besides if he wasn’t a good person I would have thrown him out long ago. But we decided to keep him,” she said with humor in her voice.

His published account of where he was in life is important to the readers. But where he is now and what he gained within is far more important to him. He may have lost everything he once owned. But through that experience, he has come to a greater understanding that his present moment with those he loves is all he truly needs.

Robert has put his past behind him by embracing the here and now with all the important people in his life. For Robert losing all his material possessions, everything he ever owned gave him a much greater appreciation of the important and significant matters of life. Because what he possesses within and what he gives to others can never be lost. But most importantly what he possesses within is far more precious than the fleeting images of his past.

Robert and Lillian are continuously learning from their shared lives. When you give of yourself abundantly you gain an abundance in life, which can never be lost. Because soul mates grow from one another and live in each other's hearts.

    Always with love from Suzhou, China
    Thomas F O’Neill
    WeChat: Thomas_F_ONeill
    U.S. Voice mail: (410) 925-9334
    China Mobile 011 (86) 13405757231
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill

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Sifoddling Along

By Marilyn Carnell

Richer Than I Knew

Last month I wrote about realizing we were financially poor when I was growing up. Upon reflection, I decided that it was too one-sided and did not address the richness I also experienced in my youth.

Limitations in money were far outweighed by the opportunities I had. Pineville was (and is) a small town. Although its culture has changed remarkably over time, it was almost a paradise in my youth. It was attractive, laid out around a central square with the courthouse as the focal point. It was a market center and drew farmers and townspeople to the many small businesses every Saturday. It was convenient. Because it was platted in 1847 it was designed to be what is once again desirable – a “walkable” community. Transportation was not required for almost any purpose in either the 19th or early 20th centuries. We owned a car because my dad needed one to go to work at the courthouse (he had polio as a child and walked on crutches) and especially required one to visit all the rural schools he was responsible for as County Superintendent. There were 71 schools open when he was first elected to office. In evaluating my origins, I was reminded of Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”. They were generously met although not in the most obvious ways.

Meeting physiological needs was not easy except for clean air and sleep. Everything else required at least some effort – water was drawn from a well, growing or hunting much of the food we ate, making, buying, or ordering clothing and the few items that were not available locally, a shelter may have been plain, but it was adequate. Reproduction was enthusiastically embraced. Large families were the norm.

Safety, at least personal security was a given. I could wander all over the countryside without fear. I knew everybody and everyone knew me. I remember being left briefly by my mom in the car while she ran an errand. It was a warm day, the windows were rolled down and of course, no one locked a car door in those days. I was about 4 years old. I discovered that I had a tick crawling on my leg and started yelling for help. I don’t recall who came to my rescue, but a woman I knew saw my distress and was helping me corral the tick when my mom came back. A silly story, but it illustrates how a child knew that help could be counted on in any circumstance. That confidence persists in me today.

We also knew that we could find a job. It might not pay very much, but there was work if you were willing. I had an advantage over some when it came to health care. I think because both of my parents barely survived the flu in 1918 and my dad’s experience with polio, health, and dental care was a high priority in my family.

Love and belonging needs were met generously. Even though my brother planned to trade me for a pony before I was born, he quickly changed his mind and had my back all his life. When the doctor said I could not walk to school to begin elementary school, he carried me on his back to be sure I wouldn’t miss the first day. I was the baby of the extended family – the youngest of 21 cousins, so I was spoiled with attention and the knowledge that I could call on any family member to help solve a problem. Love and belonging extended into the community. I trusted adults to know me and assist me if I needed it.

Esteem was gained by success in many small things. I was in 4H and remember projects like demonstrating how to make gingerbread and sewing that won ribbons. We had summer programs where I learned to make baskets and ceramic pieces. Music lessons led to state competitions. I loved school and read every book I could get my hands on.

I don’t have an example of self-actualization from my childhood, but I do know that sometimes the most casual remark can have a lasting effect. All these basic needs prepared me to go out into a bigger world. When I was a senior in college, I took a test called the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). I didn’t study for it. It was just a small thing someone suggested I do – part of the routine of finishing up my degree. In presenting the results to me, the administrator of the test said casually, “You should get a Ph.D.” I never forgot what he said. It took more than 20 years, but I did get a Ph.D. I was successful because someone told me I could be. When I think about it, I am reminded of the power of words and wonder about the many classmates who were told “You aren’t college material.” It takes so little to quash a dream or make a dream possible. I was one of the lucky ones.

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Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon

From Sound Men and Women to The Sound of The Bodhrán

Multi-talented Mayo man John Hoban once said that he had been “All over the world and a few other places.” Well, his latest book, Sound Men and Women proves that even the reference to “a few other places” is fairly accurate. This collection of yarns, musings, and fierce wit carries stories, songs, proverbs, and essays from such far-flung places as Belmullet, County Mayo, and d Kyoto, Japan. The reader gets a detailed account of John’s journey from reciting, I see His Blood upon the Rose, as a seven-year-old at a school concert to The Scissors Dance in Peru. He sang The Boys of Bar na Sraide in Oxford Circus and attended the first Punk Festival in London with a Jamaican who had one song and a one-string guitar. Bumping into Pecker Dunne by chance in Waterford and meeting Pete Seeger by appointment on a tugboat in the Hudson River are described as only John Hoban can do it.

William Hazlitt said, “A nickname is the heaviest stone that the devil can throw at a man.” And “Of all eloquence, a nickname is most concise; of all arguments the most unanswerable.” Be that as it may we are treated to an entertaining section on the subject in the book. The author was called “the Priest” in Kilburn, London and in Dublin’s north inner city he is delighted to be known as, “Yer man from Mayo.” His cousin, Tommy Hoban was known as “Cut the grass” because of his prowess at ground hurling.

Globetrotting Hoban appears to have a poem, a song or anecdote about every bridge, both solid and metaphorical that he has crossed. Of Bellacorrick Bridge, County Mayo he writes, “The sound of the stone running over the bridge told me, ‘You are entering another world. A world of sounds and visions. A world of Irish songs and stories told for a thousand years. A magical land of immense beauty and mystery.” Obviously, his wife, Isabela, had the same feelings about the structure when she wrote the poem, Bellacorrick Bridge.

It was contiguous to Blackfriars Bridge that he met the only person not included in the “Sound Men” of the title; he was an agent on a building site where John was using a shovel in the heart of London. The man referred to was, “not a sound man at all.”

On Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge he was, “Saved by the sound men and women of Dublin.”

As he walked over Brooklyn Bridge, and back, with his friend and fellow musician, Noah, “It felt so wonderful to experience these places we had heard about when we were in short trousers . . .”

He has an intriguing story about playing Sliabh na mBan on a C whistle in the vicinity of mount Everest and in the interest of balance an equally moving anecdote about belting out The Flogging Reel in Enniscorthy.

“Yer man from Mayo” appears to have picked up bits of philosophy from all parts of the globe. A ninety-three-year-old woman in a nursing home in Castlebar told him,” The only thing to remember in life is not to get flustered.” He learned a lot from a Japanese Solo Zen Monk in Mount Mellery. His name was, Venerable Raido Kimura. From walking with pilgrims up the narrow streets of Dharamsala, in Northern India to playing Roisin Dubh at Jack Harte’s funeral in Glenhest he was adding to his store of knowledge.

John’s wife Isabela is also a person of many talents. Delia, a woman in her late nineties, told her, “You’re a great piece of furniture.” When Isabela said to her, “Delia, you know things,” she was told, “ I do and we’ll leave it at that.” When John asked the same Delia to sum up her experience of life she summed it up, “Find out What’s your business is and mind it.”

John Hoban finds some of his experiences, which seem perfectly normal to others, highly amusing. He once bought a three-piece suit from a Castlebar tailor who had served his apprenticeship in Saville Row. For some reason, he finds that hilarious.

Sound Men and Women is available from;

When you get this lifetime collection of stories, sayings, songs, and music, remember the author’s suggestion, “Read it aloud or softly to your heart’s content.”

The Cobblestone

John Hoban is no stranger to The Cobblestone. Speaking of which, that establishment features prominently in a new documentary film “North Circular.” The Cobblestone Pub in Smithfield is the beating heart of Dublin's thriving folk scene, a scene that has produced award-winning acts like Lankum, Landless, John Francis Flynn and Lisa O'Neill and, of course, John Hoban. When the Cobblestone was threatened with redevelopment as a tourist hotel in 2021, the folk community took to the streets to protest and demand that the pub be saved from the wrecking ball. The Cobblestone Uprising is just one of the stories told in North Circular, Luke McManus's new documentary - an unusual black-and-white documentary musical that tells the story of life along Dublin's gritty North Circular Road. The stories of the streets are interspersed with stunning performances of traditional songs and folk ballads performed on the streets or in the Cobblestone itself. North Circular has already won four film festival awards and made its international premiere at the prestigious Sheffield DocFest. Variety wrote that "North Circular is a film that shines such depth and complexity on bigger subjects like gentrification, community and history through touching personal stories, creating a love letter to this iconic place which has a turbulent history as well as present.”

Details of North Circular from;

You Can't Bate The Bodhran

And still with a musical theme. I once heard a musician say that the bodhrán should be in the Torture Museum on Celentá Street in Prague and the renowned piper Seamus Ennis said that the best way to play the instrument was with a penknife. Tim Dennehy immortalised it in “ The Bodhrán Song and John B. Keane familiarised us with its construction in “The Bodhrán Makers.” Now the humble drum has entered the area of medical science. A French scientist, living in Ireland, Professor Michel Destrate has helped to develop a groundbreaking method of measuring stress on human skin and organs by studying the Bodhrán.

The Professor, who is Chair of Applied Mathematics at Galway University, told me, “With colleagues at the universities of Sheffield and Harvard, we were able to record videos of a sound wave travelling on the surface of a stretched membrane. The wave had an amplitude of a few nanometres only, making it invisible to the naked eye. We found that measuring the speed of that wave gives direct access to the level of stresses in the membrane. This result has direct applications in medicine, especially in reconstructive surgery. The stresses present in skin and other membranes in the body greatly influence the size and shape of incisions, scar formation, and the level of suturing forces required to close wounds. We also recorded and analysed sound waves travelling on stretched cling film, which is only about 10 micrometres thick.” He listened to his Irish wife, Joyce, when she suggested “take a look at the bodhrán. ” And then we went on to use the technique to measure the forces at play inside the skin of a bodhrán. We showed that wetting it not only changes its pitch, which is well known to players of the Irish drumhead, but also reduces its stretch and tension significantly. This was later confirmed in discussions with Michael Vignoles , one of the last bodhrán makers, based in the Claddagh in Galway city. He said that players do rub and dry the skin when they find it has gone slack.”

There’s a lesson here for anyone who has an Irish wife, “Listen to her!”

Have a great Christmas and New Year.

I’ll see you next year.

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On Trek

By Judith Kroll


Every day is a day of thanks, but today is a wee bit diff.

I can spend it with family and friends, minus little tifts.

Cherish the smiles, hear the laughs, as we share our meaningful meal.

By Judith Kroll


Every day is a day of thanks, but today is a wee bit diff.

I can spend it with family and friends, minus little tifts.

Cherish the smiles, hear the laughs, as we share our meaningful meal.

The doggies get scraps as they lovingly stare.,patiently waiting under the chair.

The cats well, what can I say, they silently love in their own little way.

Memories abound on this beautiful day,

We sit together as we pray

Grateful to BE, just BE , you and me.

We cannot on one day change the world you see,

But we can alter our own with pure love,

As it floats lovingly to set all free,

To BE.

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Honey Dog Tales - Four


By Walt Perryman

Honey Dog Tales - Four

By Honey Dog

Honey Dogs Philosophy on Humans

I have been people-watching for many years and they are a hoot. Now we canines can tell everything about another dog by a sniff or two. But not humans they can smell each other for three days, then lose their trail. They smile at each other, talk, chit-chat, and dance. Of all these human rituals, dancing is one of the funniest, looks like two pea cocks fixing to fight. My master looks like a frog in a blender.

It appears to me that dancing is somewhat painful to a lot of them, but they do it for hours, sniffing is a lot faster, but they do not do that much they are having a hard-enough time just breathing. My master covers up the fact that he is out of breath and about to faint. I was so embarrassed, have you ever seen a dog’s face turn red? Then he wobbles to a table and takes his cell phone out like he is making an important call, Cow chips, he does not even know how to call anyone, he is just trying to re-coup from dancing, That wimp, duct tape, oilfield master of mine.

All of this could be avoided if they would learn how to sniff. My canine friends keep on sniffing and not dancing. One more thing, can you imagine if a spaceship landed, and Aliens got out walked into the dance hall, and saw people dancing? Heck, the spaceship would not even cool off before they are headed back to where they came from. What a dog’s life I live. Later my friends

Canine news line by Honey Dog

Well, my fellow dogs, I have been thinking and I believe soon science will prove to people that we, dogs know a lot more than they have been thinking all this time. They think we are dumb animals; I wish I could tell them what I think about them.

How can we not know something? We spend 24 hours a day listning to their yap, yap. They can talk for hours and not say enough to fill up my food bowl. Especially out at Luckenbach, I have heard my Master talk for an hour to some old boy and they are not even on the same page. Yea! I cannot, not, listen to it all, he has me on a short rope and I cannot get out of hearing distance.

Here is another funny human pass time, dancing; I swear sometimes it looks like the fire ants got to them. It is funny they jump and rub around like no other animal on this earth that I can think of. Oh!! And my, dancing in the stars, duct tape, master looks like a frog in a blender when he dances. I worry about him because he looks like he is in pain. And my fellow dogs, they call it fun.

If we acted that way the man with the cage on the back of his truck and a long pole with a loop on it would haul our dog tails to the pound. They would think we had rabies for acting that way. I believe the day will come and people will be embarrassed thinking of the stuff they had done and said in front of their dogs.

That will be a fun canine day. We can laugh our dumb animal tails plum off. Of course, my master will duct tape it back on. Another food for thought by the great Honey Dog!!! Bow! Wow!

* * * * *

(To Be Continued. See Me Next Issue.)
©2010 Honey Dog
with Secretarial Assistant and Master Walt Perryman

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A Mother's Lessons


By Danielle Cote Serar

The last two weeks plus my house has been a cesspool of germs. What started with my husband and what we thought was a minor stomach bug, shifted through all four of us followed by a round of the cold from hell that never left. We tested negative for everything… just guessed it to be a severe form of the common cold. I don’t complain overly or at all about being sick. Having had chronic illness at one point in my life, I’ve learned to power through much that comes my way. But man, the lung I thought I was coughing up on the daily, scratch that hourly, for a good week had even me reaching for the pity party tissue box.

This is the first time I have ever been knocked on my butt, want to roll over bury myself under the covers, and not come out… well ever kind of sick with my kiddos being here. So this was the first time ever that I got to really experience the concept of “moms don’t get sick days.” I have to give my hubby credit. He really did try to manage my babies while letting me rest. But my babies had other plans as they constantly demanded “MA-MA!” It struck me at the giant juxtaposition that was taking place between my being sick and my hubby being sick.

While my hubby was left alone, no ardent calls up the stairs to garner his attention, no demands to see daddy. But when I was sick, there was a consistent flow of screeching of my one-year-old screaming for mama and the four-year-old loudly telling daddy she wanted to go see mommy. Even when I finally relinquish and came down, I became the jungle gym and the momma “please may I…” or more often the case the less polite version.

I was reminded of the American Greetings YouTube ad for Mother’s Day where they interview candidates for “the world’s toughest job” that they have dub a working title of Director of Operations. The interviewer proceeds to describe the job to the candidate's details of which include no breaks, mobile all the time, no salary, no vacation, no sick time, willing to be on call, no sleep, and on and on. At one point one of the candidates says that it was almost inhumane. But mothers do this day in and day out, some at home 24/7 and others while juggling a job in or out of the home but with no less expectations on being mom.

In the moments of hacking up my lungs, it hit me how real that ad was. I was not getting sick leave and I was still being expected to still be momma. But when my little “associates” aka my two babies crawled into my lap, snuggled with me, gave me sloppy kisses on the cheek or ugga mugga nose kisses, it really didn’t matter the cost. It was worth it.

You would think as a mom of a one-year-old, four-year-old AND a 24-year-old that I would have learned all the lessons of motherhood. But the lesson I am constantly learning is I always have something more to learn as a mother. This time I learned there really is no substitute for momma. So sick, not sick, I suit up and show up for them.
Danielle Serar

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Tiny Miracle


By Mary E. Adair

Reprinted from November 1999

Tiny fist near tiny eye,
The softest sound of breathing,
Tiny mouth moves in a sigh,
As puff of air is leaving.
Mother gazes thoughtfully,
As husband stands nearby,
Humble setting holds the three
With barely space to lie.
Tiny Babe will change the world,
Mother senses as she rests,
Husband stands in cloak tight-furled...
Someone comes, are they foe, or guests?
On bended knee, in robes well-worn,
Shepherds praise the precious Child.
They've been told that this Newborn
Is the King they've longed for quite a while.
Others arrive in more costly garb,
With royal gifts for Royalty...
These earthly Kings have traveled far,
Star-guided, this Babe to see.
Mary pondered, when she saw Wisemen kneel,
Just how much He will see in His life.
Reality must have seemed unreal
To the husband watching Child and wife.
Blessed moment in time, through time undimmed,
As angels sang, 'neath Bethlehem's sky,
Many came to the stable to worship Him,
None knowing or suspecting how He'd die.

Born Christ for all who would believe,
Born helpless, and gentle, and mild.
Tiny heart would soon enough grow to grieve
For those lost to the message of the Child.
For those who would not believe the birth
Of the King, to a virginal Mother;
For those who preferred things of the earth,
To preparing their life for another.
Another life that would not end in death... hard to accept, for some...
That the soul that can leave within a breath,
Can arrive in Heaven before the next one.
Passage guaranteed by belief in that birth,
And belief that He died to save us from sin,
Defeated Death, and arose to walk on the earth,
And makes heavenly promises now to all men.
Telling death is nothing but a gateway to life
In Heaven, if His Words are heeded,
A transition to Glory from sin and strife...
A believing heart is all that is needed.
Telling us how to go spread His Word
About His birth, His life, and victory over death.
Was this all in the thoughts which Mary heard,
Pondered in her heart, as she counted each breath,
And watched tiny fist touch tiny eye
Of the Child she held to her breast,
Heard tiny lips breathe that sigh...
Did she know she was truly blessed?

©November 1999 Mary E. Adair

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A West Texas Tumblwweed Christmas


By Walt Perryman

I am dreaming of a tumbleweed Christmas this year,
The way they roll across the road and we drive in fear.

I love to have a tumbleweed instead of a Christmas tree,
Except when I hang the lights and the stickers stick me.

I think It is a good thing that Santa Clauses sleigh flies,
Or else, Rudolf would get tumbleweeds in his eyes.

I love it when tumbleweeds are stacked high on the fences,
That is when tumbleweeds heighten my Christmas senses.

Next time you see the tumbleweeds, tumbling along,
Try reading the Bible so you can learn right from wrong.

Because my poem is not about getting stuck by a thorn.
A tumbleweed Christmas is about when Jesus was born!

©2020 Walt Perryman

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The Key To The Universe


By Bud Lemire

The Key To The Universe, is knowing every day
What is needed to fulfill you, in every way
You need to know, what makes you complete
What keeps you going, every day on your feet

Everyone's key will be different, and so are we
From different angles, is how we all see
Each of us, will have a different journey to take
Different paths to go down, different choices to make

Everything will change us, and how we see things
Each choice will evolve us, with what our life brings
As we go through life, we'll learn and we'll grow
And the Universe is what, we'll come to know

What makes you happy, is a good place to start
Knowing what touches, your soul and your heart
Pleasing your body, is a human thing to do
Pleasure of the soul, defines the true you

All through our lives, we seek to fit in
When the true meaning of us, is below the skin
Use your heart as a human, but remember your soul
You are so much more, and it will help you be whole

©Nov 12, 2022 Bud Lemire

                          Author Note:

To be all we can be and feel more complete, we have to
be happy with every choice we make. We have to be
happy with where we are in life, and who we are with.
We have to be happy with who we are. But remember,
you can change anything. You are in control of where
you go, where you will be, and who is in it. When you
are in the right place, and you are with the right person,
you will feel that complete feeling, that Universal harmony.
And you would have found, The Key To The Universe..


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My Parents


By Lena Carroll

(Previously published in Hobbies, Etc.,
parent publication of Pencil Stubs Online.)

My parents came to see me
No cup my joy could hold
For it’s a trip, you see
They’d not made before.
Twelve happy years of wedded bliss,
Four little girls to give us joy;
I’d had a visit from my one and only sis,
My brother also to Texas came
And stayed too short a while.
But, a visit from Dad and Mother
A wistful dream had become.
Until that happy day that I heard,
“We’re leaving the 20th,
Just dropped you a word.’
And so they came to see us
A few short days they stayed.
But all too soon I heard the words,
“Goodbye--we will try to come again.”

© circa 1946 Lena May Carroll


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My Ears


By Bud Lemire

My eyes see, everything that my ears can not hear
I just wish I could hear, so there wouldn't be a tear
I'm strong, I've endured a lot, and I'll survive
I've learned through life, things I need to stay alive

My world is so quiet, I can't even hear an alarm at all
It does no good to answer the phone, when you call
Things people take for granted, I cherished every day
Now I live without sound, It's been taken away

My ears are for decoration, because now they don't work
Sounds may be for others, for me they don't lurk
Sometimes I can read lips, if their speech is plain
If they talk too fast, it is like the pouring rain

I miss the company of the spoken voice
The loss of hearing gave me no choice
I search within, to remember how you sound
It's not the same, I wish my hearing could be found

I live within the silence, with quiet as my friend
I long for the sounds, and wish this would end
I'll live in this world, but I'll keep hoping too
That I'll be able to hear again, just like you

©Nov 4, 2022 Bud Lemire

                       Author Note:

Living in a world without sound is so very quiet
and lonely. The comfort of a friend is either in
person, or words on a screen. It's not the same.
Being in the dark you think would be great if quiet,
but it's very scary. Crossing the street by myself,
shouldn't be scary, yet it is. I fear my own company
at times. Nothing is the same, everything has changed.
Because my ears can not hear.


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By Mattie Lennon

We’re left with only memories,
At those, we now must clutch
Your picture on the kitchen wall
It is our only crutch.
That image is consoling
And helps to ease the gloom
As your eyes, like Mona Lisa’s
Just track me round the room.

From scraping plates to closing doors
To going to bed at night,
All have a Ben-connection;
Each smell and sound and sight.
Your meat and nuts disposed of
(To the Blue-bin went your bed.)
I didn’t want any witnesses
When tears flowed in the shed.

We got you thirteen years ago,
You were only four months old.
The last one of your litter,
The others all were sold.
We brought you home immediately
‘Twas a lovely Summer day.
Both had our eccentricities
So we bonded straight away.

We strolled and shared our traits for years
(A half a score plus three.)
Strangers always hailed you first
And then they’d talk to me.
I now walk out without you,
Your spirit’s there but, then
The dreadful thing I have to say.
When people ask., “Where’s Ben.”

To you kind and loved and loving dog
The illness came to stay.
Then needles, scans and Xrays
Were the order of the day.
Some medicines you wouldn’t take
And your pain I couldn’t see.
I forced tablets down and hurt you
Now that thought is hurting me.`

When all that could be done was done,
The end came mighty fast.
Decision made. The plunger pushed.
Relief from pain at last.
We didn’t use that terrible word,
The one that rhymes with “Dread.”
I asked the Vet a question
As our son then kissed your head..

©July 2022 Mattie Lennon

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My Three Daughters


By Walt Perryman

I have loved my three daughters since their birth,
My Carol’s in Heaven and my other two on earth.

I love all three of my girls more than I could ever say.
Carol lives on in my heart, even though she is far away.

I believe that Carol is in Heaven and will patiently wait,
For her loved ones to come through the Old Pearly Gate.

Not a day goes by that I do not dwell on all three of you,
And I do not tell you enough that I love you, as I do!

© circa 2020 Walt Perryman

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Thanksgiving Memories


By Bud Lemire

I enjoyed sitting down, at Thanksgiving with family
Now I can look back, at the cherished memory
Mom, Dad, John, Terry, and me
Turkey was the best it could be

Potatoes with gravy, and dressing too
Cranberry sauce, either one will do
Lime jello with carrots and pineapple inside
Green and black olives, that were too hard to hide

There were leftovers, after a meal like this one
Turkey sandwiches to eat, was the most fun
Those were the days, I still remember
Way back then, on a cold day in November

I'm never as thankful, as remembering family on this day
At the old family home, and the games we would play
My sister Nancy came over, we'd play games for awhile
Thinking of those days, always brings me a smile

Times keep on changing, and people pass away
It's best to enjoy them, every moment of each day
When it comes to us, each day that we're living
Enjoy each year with family, and have a Happy Thanksgiving

©Nov 20, 2022 Bud Lemire

                         Author Note:

Life changes, and time moves ahead. But the memories are
great to look back on. The smiles, the company you kept,
the food at Thanksgiving, the games we played, and that
special time in life when you had no worries at all. You
just enjoyed all the foods that your family made every

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I Don't Know What To Do

By Bruce Clifford

Is it different for me?
Is it the same for you?
All the troubles you’ve been through.
I don’t know what to do.

This keeps breaking my heart.
It’s tearing me apart.
Is life forgetful of your dreams?
I don’t know what this all means.

It’s so lonely without you.
Is it the same for you too?
Our past keeps landing at my feet.
I’ve only wanted you to live out your dreams.

Is it different for me?
Is it the same for you?
All the heartache you’ve been through.
Not knowing what to do.

Is it different for you?
Is it the same for me?
I’m lost and emotionally confused.
I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know what to do.

©11/2/2022 Bruce Clifford

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Christmas Eve


By Walt Perryman

It's Christmas Eve and all throughout Texas,
Everyone’s talking on cell phones and sending texts.

Instead of visiting someone to talk and celebrate,
We use our cell phones and Facebook to communicate.

We send Christmas cards to our address book,
Even if we know they probably won’t even look.

Santa no longer needs any reindeer or a sleigh,
All he has to do now days is to log-on to E-bay.

I wonder if at Christmas, Jesus has a tear in his eye,
The way we celebrate Christmas but forgotten why?

So, I am going to kneel down beside my bed,
And instead of logging on, say this prayer instead.

“Jesus, please forgive me for celebrating like I do,
And help me remember that Christmas is for YOU.”


©2020 Walt Perryman

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I Honor You!


By Bud Lemire

On this day, I honor you!
The love you share, deep and true
I honor all that you are, all that you give
For sharing it with me, each day that we live

Deep in the night
Our souls take flight
Touching each other, very intense
Feeling you, with every meaning of the sense

You give it all, all that you share
I feel it all, and am quite aware
This form of love, is the best that I know
It touches me deeply, all parts of my soul

The vibrations powerful, when we become one
Is felt for a long time, after we're done
The bond that we share, is so very strong
You complete me fully, with you I belong

You're a woman, but you're more than that too
Your spiritual light, is one that I always knew
I honor your heart and soul, all the way through
My dear Twin Flame, most of all, I honor You!

©Nov 12, 2022 Bud Lemire

                          Author Note:

Happy Birthday my Love! I hope your day is one
of the very best. Thank you for being the woman
I've come to love so very much..


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When We Were Young

By Bruce Clifford

When we were young I thought you would grow up to be a runway model or a movie star.
When we were young I thought your future would be bright and life would take you far.
When we were young.
When we were young.

I never thought pain and poverty would be a part of your plan.
I always thought you had a destiny that would take you to new heights and foreign lands.

When we were young I thought your future would be living in style.
When we were young I was so in love with your embrace and your smile.
When we were young.
When we were young,

Learning how you’ve been hurt in far too many different ways.
Knowing what I know now breaks my heart in a tragic phase.

When we were young I thought you would have love, wealth and a castle on the shore.
When we were young I never thought of all the pain you were going to have to endure.
When we were young.
When we were young.

When we were young I never thought
I would discover your hurt as we become middle-aged and old.
When we were young the one thing that has never changed is
How I still miss you more than the diamonds from within my soul.

©11/6/2022 Bruce Clifford

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Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Editor's Corner


By Mary E. Adair

November 2022

“Thanksgiving day is a jewel,
to set in the hearts of honest men;
but be careful that you do not take the day,
and leave out the gratitude.”
__E.P. Powell

The present calendar has your editor's favorite Holiday which always falls on the fourth Thursday--Thanksgiving! Somehow, it seems more a family shared holiday than even Christmas which can be fraught with purchasing just the 'right' gift, meeting deadlines for school and/or work parties, and the usually cooling weather that seems to slow down everything at the very time one needs to hurry, hurry, hurry! So enjoy November's sports in present or with the magic of television coverage, and settle yourself to enjoy heartier meal menus. 'Tis the season!

It is also the season when leaves fall from the trees. shrubs, and flowers, reminding us that we, too, can someday meet our own falling away time. Faced with the untimely passing of our beloved columnist and poet, Dayvid Bruce Clarkson, we are showing his final column as a tribute for him -- "Reflections of the Day."

"A Mother's Lessons" by Danielle Cote Serar, recounts her feelings on watching her children as they respond sometimes to others rather than herself. "On Trek" by Judith Kroll, addresses thoughts, ideas, and hopes concerning one's "Higher Self."

"Introspective" by Thomas O'Neill, shares his thoughts and memories of Thanksgiving, and his attempt to convey the meaning of that holiday to his students in China. "Irish Eyes" by our Dublin based Mattie Lennon, brings us into the picture, well, the books, he discusses for November, with disclosures from the authors and those familiar with the historic scope of the tales included.

"Sifoddling Along," by Marilyn Carnell, lets fond memories weave her column as she focuses on the little home where she lived as a youngster, and later. "Woo Woo," by Pauline Evanosky, delves into the actual mechanics of learning to channel.

"Cooking with Rod” by Roderich Cohenour, is an encore of one of his post-Thanksgiving meal plans since he is hospitalized for tests and surgical evaluation at this time. Prayers are welcome for the ideal outcome, says his wife Melinda Cohenour. Since she is primarily concerned with his well-being currently, she offers a brief explanation in lieu of her usual information in her column the "Armchair Genealogy."

This issue boasts two articles, one from the hand of LC Van Savage, former columnist who focuses primarily on crafts and authoring more books now. As always. she tells it like it seems to her as she proclaims "Here’s To the Guys Who Brought it Over." The other article, "My Experiences with the Spirit World," is by long-time friend Julie Anne Carey, who was born in Australia, and stil resides there. Do click her byline and read her biography.

This poem by Dan Kangas was brought to mind by her article, so here is an encore of "My Awakening." Bud Lemire's poems are "Cousins, Connect By Heart & Soul," "Halloween At Harbor Tower," "Reflections in My Glasses," and "Feeling The Silence." Bruce Clifford, submitted "On The Outside," "A Boy in the Park," and "Do You Still Dream?"

Walt Perryman's life takes many twists and turns but the Cowboy Poet that he is can always find the words to clue us into his musings and reactions, no matter what. His poems this month are "My High School Reunion," "Hometown Memories," "More Good News," and "My Hospital Stay."

Perryman is also the author of the continuing presentation that reveals the compositions titled "Honey Dog Tales." Chapter Three is in this issue for our readers to enjoy!

We continue to thank our co-founder and webmaster, Mike Craner, whose knowlege and expertise keeps Pencil Stubs Online actually online. He does it well as we are now in our 25th year. Happy Thanksgiving, Mike!

Look for us in December.

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Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

Dear readers,
this month your author has been unable to focus on Research. My precious husband has been hospitalized with a life-threatening infection and although he will be discharged from the hospital, he must immediately schedule surgery.
Hopefully all that will result in complete healing and restoration of his typically active lifestyle. So this month I ask for your patience and for your prayers.

In the meantime, please pursue your own Armchair Genealogy research.
Yours truly,
Melinda Cohenour

Editor's Note: All of the columns may be accessed

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Cooking with Rod


By Rod Cohenour

Our favorite cook, Rod, has just been released from the hospital, and is in the process of scheduling surgery. But he has a trove of Thanksgiving recipes to pull from. This month, we feature one of his former solutions to the bountiful leftovers of a fabulous Turkey Dinner.

Let’s do Leftovers!

      Thanksgiving was really wonderful this year. Daughter Melissa prepared not one, but two turkeys for our dining pleasure along with her fabulous Corn and Cheddar Dressing. My dear wife contributed three classic family favorites – her own Fruit Salad, a classic Pea ‘n Cheddar Salad, and a Waldorf Salad with a twist. Along with hot breads, plenty of pies, and a few other traditional side dishes we enjoyed a feast fit for kings and queens!

      Now, we have leftovers. Enough for a few really tasty sandwiches of course, but what – Oh, What? will we do with all that leftover turkey? Well, my better half has a plan and it’s one I can really support in a big way because my mouth begins watering just thinking about the dish I know she will set before me – her famous Golden Turkey-Rice Soup!

      Gather round, chilluns – ‘cause here is the recipe.

      Bon appetit`!

Melinda’s Golden Turkey Rice Soup
(Melinda Cohenour – Thanksgiving 1998)


  • 4 cans fat-free chicken broth (in the event you do not have clarified turkey broth, a combination works)
  • 6 cups cooked, deboned, turkey (preferably majority white meat)
  • 1 bunch celery, finely diced, including leaves
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and dimed
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cans cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • Water
  • Milk
  • Italian seasoning, about 1 teaspoon or so
  • Poultry seasoning, about 1 tablespoon
  • Ground sage, about ½ to 1 teaspoon


   You will need a Large 8-quart stainless steel stewpot with lid.

   Dice cooked turkey in cubes of about 1 to 1 ½ “ square. Heat turkey broth (if you do not have reserved, clarified turkey broth, use canned chicken broth).

   Add vegetables to hot broth and cook until carrots appear to be tender, but not overcooked.

   When vegetables are cooked, add 3 cups rice (we prefer Mahatma long-grain, white rice) to hot broth, stir and permit to cook for about 10 minutes.

   Add turkey to vegetable-rice mixture, add water to almost the top of large pan. Permit to cook until turkey is heated through again and broth is reduced slightly. Add soups and stir thoroughly, permit to cook for about 10 minutes more. Add 1 quart of milk, turn off the heat, stir thoroughly. Permit to stand about 5 minutes before serving to permit flavors to blend.

      Serve with hot bread and salad of your choice. (Fruit salad is an excellent accompaniment.)

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Woo Woo

By Pauline Evanosky

Methods of Channeling

When I was learning how to channel, I found that I could make up rules. There was the expectation that my guide would talk to me in a language I could understand. That was a given. Why? I don’t know. They could just as easily have spoken to me in Persian or French. But it was English which is my native tongue and that is how we began.

In the beginning, when I first started channeling, I used a Ouija board. The Parker Brothers Company makes them. There are a lot of strong opinions about using Ouija boards. I didn’t care what anybody said about it and throwing caution to the wind was able to make my first legitimate connection to Spirit. At least it was a connection I could understand.

The board is arranged with two rows of letters of the alphabet curving across the board. There are some numbers below them and a Goodbye for good measure on the bottom. Also, very handy is a Yes in the upper left corner of the board with a corresponding No in the opposite upper right-hand corner.

What happened to me in that 2-week window between making contact with Spirit on the Ouija Board and beginning to hear Spirit telephonically was that the planchette moved faster and faster to each letter spelling out the next word. My guide Seth used the blank place on the board under the arching letters to move the planchette and dance for a couple of seconds between words. That was really helpful for me. It was especially funny when he would dance with a smile there. At least, I thought it was cool.

As the days wore on and the planchette began to move faster it began to zip right off the edge of the board. It was irritating because I’d have to pick it back up again, put it back on the board, and try to settle again into the groove of channeling. It wasn’t that long before I had the idea to use something else instead of the planchette which got misplaced one day. I chose a pretty stone to move around on the board. That wasn’t perfect because it didn’t have a pointed corner on it. But I made do.

It was then that it occurred to me that I could just use my finger. I figured Spirit was not moving the planchette at all because when I took my hand off of it, it stopped moving. Spirit was moving my arm, my hand, and my finger. Why then didn’t I just use my finger? If I kept it pointed, then I could tell which letter my guide was pointing at.

However, it occurred to me, and this is where the whole thing gets a little spooky, what if I had a knife in my hand? What if Spirit decided to murder somebody? Holy cow! This was upsetting. I took a deep breath and settled down.

I realized nothing of the sort was going to happen. It just would not happen. That was Hollywood. That was where scary movies came from. That was imagination running amok.

So, here’s where I started making “rules”. I thought about where the Yes and the No were on the board. I thought: What if my index finger was always YES and my pinkie finger was always NO? What if it didn’t matter which hand I was using? I asked Seth to make my finger bounce. He did. Woah Nellie! I asked him to make my pinkie bounce up and down. It worked.

Holy Moly. I was on to something.

I remember the moment I thought I was going nuts. It was when I could no longer follow the individual letters being pointed out on the board. Even before Seth was done spelling a word out, I knew what it was going to be. Even before he’d gotten to the end of the sentence, I knew what he was going to say. I panicked. I knew in my heart I’d gone certifiably nuts. I remember thinking, “This is what it feels like to be crazy.” And that was the first time I ever heard him with my ears.

He said, “Go outside. I have something important to say to you.” I heard those words. I still remember what he said. Exactly as he said it.

I went outside. Dennis was right next to me in the kitchen. I was sitting in the dining room where we had set up our computer. The television was on. There was just a lot of activity and noise where I was in the house.

The front door was right there. I stepped out onto the patio. That was when Seth said to me, “You can hear me now.”

I began channeling on 2/12/1993 with the Ouija Board. It was about a week and a half later, about 10 days when I made that transition from letters being spelled out and being able to actually hear the voice of Spirit. It wasn’t for another 5 years or so that I finally realized it must have been on 2/22/1993 that I began channeling telepathically. That was the 222 I’d been seeing so often for years. Finally, it meant something. And, that something would change the trajectory of my life.

It took me a few weeks before I became comfortable with hearing the voice of Spirit. In fact, the first couple of days it was an audible voice where I could have sworn somebody was standing behind me or to my side talking. Seth’s voice also would come to me in a stutter. It was almost like I would be sticking my fingers in and out of my ears so that I’d only catch part of what was being said. And it was in that period of transition that I still relied on the Ouija Board. However, that was awkward as anything. That board is big and doesn’t fold up. Also, it looks crazy to haul something like that out in the middle of the grocery store to continue talking to your guide. If you want to look crazy that would do the trick. I did try lettering out a board on a piece of paper that I could roll up and put in my purse, but, still, it was awkward and just didn’t look right.

The next rule became something I call “Talking Fingers”. Using my index finger as the yes and my pinkie finger as no I was able to make sense of what Seth was saying. Here’s me saying silently: “Did you say preside?” No. “Was it decide?” Yes.

But, in the time between me being able to hear my guide’s voice audibly and what eventually moved to telepathy, there was this oddball stage where the voice of Spirit had an echo. There were also times when it seemed like many voices overlapping. I-I-I-I sai-sai-said that-that-that it-it-it-it is-is-is-is-is all-all-all-all ri-right-right. It also felt like I kept putting my fingers in my ears over and over again and I would only get the words spoken when my fingers were out of my ears. A totally useless way to communicate. Nobody told me it was going to get better and would last no longer than two weeks. In the meantime, I needed a better system.

I was flabbergasted. I was shocked. My word!

I call it talking fingers.

I still use it 30 years later. And I can use both hands! The index finger of either hand is always yes and the pinkie finger is always no. I suppose if your feet are supple enough you could use your toes, but mine don’t work very well. Also, I suppose you’d have to be barefoot most of the time.

So, when I got a garbled message from Spirit I would ask for clarification. Easier if the answer could be yes or no and I engineered those queries as much as possible to be answerable with yes or no. Like AAAAcatcatcacacacatcancancannotcannothavehahahavedinnerdinndinndinnernownownow. Me: “Did you say “A cat can have dinner now?” NO. What other answer is it? Me: “Did you say A cat cannot have dinner now?” YES. This did not actually happen, but you get my drift.

The rationale I used for talking with my fingers was that my hand moved across the Ouija Board. Who was it controlling my hand? Must have been my guide. Thus, right pointing finger bobs up and down for yes and right pinkie finger bobs up and down for no.

That was the rule.

It was what was to be a short-term solution because after about 2 weeks of that my focus and understanding got better. The thoughts I got from Spirit got faster so that sometimes there was no speaking involved it was just a knowingness.

In the years since I have found uses for talking in fingers, especially in crowded situations. I have never quite gotten to the point where I can walk and chew gum as a medium. It’s sort of like I’m either all the way in or all the way out. So, I use a combination of techniques to channel. It is a hoot to talk to your guide while you are shopping. For practice, in the beginning, and even now when it is just fun I ask my guide to pick out the best fruit or vegetable. As I stick my arm out over the potatoes it starts bouncing around gently. Sort of spooky. My hand hovers over the spuds and with a flourish, it descends upon the one we want. Hey, it’s fun. Also, I’m not very good at picking out potatoes that don’t have black spots from digging them out of the ground. Having Spirit help is convenient.

The other place where talking with fingers is good is where I can’t really quiet down and zip in to talk to Spirit. Imagine this, a lady in Sears in the clothing department who suddenly seems to go to sleep next to the dresses. Wouldn’t you give her a wide berth? I put my hand up near my throat and as I’m looking through the clothes and wait for my fingers to dance.

My favorite of all methods is to channel at the computer. Spirit will either slow down or speed up to suit the recording method. The fastest of all would be audio but I’ve never really gotten the hang of doing that well. But, to get to the computer method of channeling I began with a pen and paper. Which has its upsides and downsides. The upside is to see how your handwriting changes. It is really wonky at times. Big handwriting. Aimless shapes. Big circles. Prepare to go through quite a bit of paper. But, once you get the shapes and wonky letters out of the way and you just clip right along it’s nice. However, my hand would get tired which is why I eventually switched to the computer. Which is a sort of funny story in itself.

My hand was tired and I was taking more and more breaks with the handwritten channeling. It occurred to me that it would be faster if we were to sit at the computer. I asked Seth, “What do you think?” He indicated yes. I said, “Do you know how to type?” So, there I go like a dummy giving Seth typing lessons. In retrospect he sure had me going, but I taught my guide how to type. I think it was the first time I saw the humorous side of my guide. You do not need to teach your guide to type. They already know how.

Editing written channeling is interesting too. I can remember as I edit, looking for misspellings and such, that the guides would jump in and start channeling again. I asked what was going on and it was like I only had so much channeling energy in me and they would say one sentence in the first draft which in the edit would expand. Which is okay with me, as I write that way too. But I remember thinking I hadn’t done something right the first time around. They assured me I was okay.

They will adjust how they channel with each individual. And where there is one way to say it there are three others that would work just as well.

Everybody channels, in my opinion. All the time. All our lives. It’s just that so many of us don’t realize what is going on. What else can we compare our own experiences to? I realized this when I first began to channel. I realized then that I’d been doing it to a lesser degree for a very long time without realizing that I was channeling.

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