Monday, May 1, 2023

Editor's Corner

By Mary E. Adair

May 2023

If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."  - Roald Dahl

Your editor cooked about three and a half quarts of Crowder Peas in the pressure cooker. Nostalgia for my Missouri Grandma Carrie Joslin’s Crowder Peas meal brought this on. Although she would have served them in a bechamel sauce, the table meat would be slices of fried ham, and the greens would be her Goldenrod Poke Salet ( made with freshly sprouted Poke, parboiled, rinsed, chopped and simmered briefly with bacon, drained and spread (while still bright green) down the middle of a big white china platter, edged down each side with golden, crumbled, hard boiled egg yolks, the whites chopped and spread in a narrow row down the center atop the poke greens with crisp fried and crumbled bacon in a slim band centering the egg whites. I can see it shining in the middle of the long oak table, covered with a red and white checkerboard oilcloth, from my seat on the bench down one side, that could easily seat six to eight younguns, (as Grandpa called us kids.) The biscuits would be fist sized Buttermilk ones made in Grandpa’s cast iron wood stove, but the rest of the meal prepared on Grandma’s cherished, four burners and oven, butane white enameled kitchen stove. And yes, she is the grandmother who tithed her garden.

Blessed memories. Perhaps coming now as that was the house where yours truly was born on the eighth day of this month eighty-eight years ago. This is also the month that Mothers are honored with a day of remembrance and celebation, althogh this year has it the latest that it can occur in the month as it is always designated for the second Sunday of May. We do present a couple of poems honoring the poet's mom, and Thomas F. O'Neill remembers and reminds others to wish all mothers the best!

Lena May (Joslin)Carroll and
first child Mary Elizabeth.

Such reminisences are comforting, but now let's get to what is happening this issue in the 26th volume of this International eZine that has published the compositions of over 500 authors. Our columnists seem more than anxious for Summer's activities.

First, please notice the Tribute articles, one for the late Leo C. Helmer, and one for your editor's mother Lena May (Joslin) Carroll. These two, like yours truly, also had May birthdays, deeming us all as Taurians. We visited a lot and got along well, but when traveling the stubborn trait well known in persons from that segment of the Astrological Chart rose to its full capacity. Each knowing their choice of roadway must be correct. Do miss our times together.

Our poets with their varied interests present their perspective on life in many unique compositions.

Walt Perryman, is a retired Oil Exploration man who worked in nearly all, if not all, of the various jobs in that industry all around the world. Born in Grandfalls TX, he now resides in Lukenbach, TX.. His poetry this issue includes for Mother's Day "Letter to My Mother." His other two are "Rant about Cell Phones" and "Another Sunrise is Fixing to Rise."

Meanwhile, also stepping up to the challenge of their muses, this issue brings:

    Bruce Clifford "Sentimental Ways".

    Bud Lemire, "Songs Mom Sang," "The Veil is Fadingt," and "Souls Passing Through Life."

    John I Blair sent his poem "Mock Oranges."  .

    Linnie Jane Joslin Burks poems are "She Loved Me" and "We Hold The Gladness."

    Mary E. Adair , yes, yours truly, shows poems "Warming Up" and "Magic Carpet."

Our columnists have treats in store with their particular viewpoints:

    Melinda Cohenour, expresses how intriguing for family researchers the new Ancestry DNA collections are.

    "Armchair Genealogy"

    Marilyn Carnell has compliments for Asian TV.

    "Sifoddling Along"

    Danielle Serar, discusses how much we can learn about socializing (and probably shhould ) from our little children.

    "A Mother's Lessons"

    Judith Kroll, asks how to capture sense-stirring views.

    "On Trek"

    Mattie Lennon, speaks about Proverbs, a Harper, and a couple of Masks.

    "Irish Eyes"

    Thomas F. O'Neill, welcomes May and all it can mean.


    Rod Cohenour, still convalescing, features niece SeLena May Olgin as guest Chef in an Encore Guest Column by Leo C. Helmer.

    "Cooking with Rod"

    Mary E. Adair, in addition to the two poems, while preparing this issue, could feel MomaMay making suggestions just as she used to do when we were chatting online together.

    "Tribute to Lena May Joslin Carroll"

    Pencil Stubs Online is maintained by the diligence of our webmaster and beloved friend, Michael Craner.

    who is also Co-Founder, shown in 1998 and current 2023 pics

    Having been published in one of AMEA Publications magazines, "Hobbie$, Etc." that was a newspaper format, monthly magazine that went to 42 USA states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and six other countries, Mike was unhappy when we decided to stop publishing it a little over a year after founder and publisher A G Adair passed away. The increase in publication and mailing fees especially to non-continental based subscribers was prohibitive, forcing a closure. Mike stepped forward and said as he had begun doing websites that he would like us to work together to keep a publication going. And here we are, now in our 26th year and still providing a quality outlet for authors, both established book authors and playwrights as well as those just venturing forth to show their creativity. Thanks again, Mike!

    See you in June!

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


Armchair Genealogy

By Melinda Cohenour

DNA: For the casual family researcher to the professional genealogist, the advances in DNA bring exciting discoveries. Your author tested several years ago (2016) and encouraged a few family members to also test. Awaiting results left us eagerly seeking the first DNA matches to be revealed. Then, puzzlement: who are those people? And how do they fit in my tree?

The Big Reveal: Ethnicity:

My first email from Ancestry®. years ago brought a mixture of elation, surprises, and mysteries. First of all, a long-awaited "reveal" of what my DNA indicated my ethnicity to be. The initial findings were more evidence of family lore being shown to be faulty. Always told WE were primarily French, Irish, and English with a smattering of Native Americans thrown in, the ethnic regions that were included shook up that premise! Included were some areas that raised eyebrows. A very small percentage from Eastern European Jewish heritage? Sweden, Norway, and a pinch of Belgium were thrown in. Not one single match shows evidence of Native American heritage.

(As Ancestry adds more and more test results from around the world and tweaks its methods of evaluating the data, the ethnic mix evolves. Each new analysis shuffles the percentages for me and my family members.)

A long dissertation was included explaining my Haplogroup, or how my DNA compared to the historical migration patterns that depicted ancient origins. I must admit I found those bits of knowledge fascinating.

One of my first columns focused on my fledgling exploration of DNA in my attempt to absorb a basic understanding. That column may be read at this link: The Mysteries of DNA and How It Might Aid Our Research

More recently Ancestry has turned to examining not the ancient migration but the more recent: where do our DNA matches reveal our ancestors to have migrated to in modern times? Thus, matches are shown in clusters and labeled with titles like West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee Settlers.

Later, Ancestry utilized Circles of connection which was explored in my column titled DNA: More Mysteries to be Unraveled Click to read.

My first group of DNA Matches back in 2016 numbered just about 400. Today using its advanced Sideview technology, my matches are divided and numbered thusly:
Maternal 44,758
Paternal 46,722
Both Sides 34
Unassigned 8,423.

A staggering 99,937 DNA Matches to be explored!

Sideview Technology:

Through the intervening years, Ancestry and I have been busily examining my DNA Matches to identify how each is related to me. One of my columns touched on this in depth. Click title in blue: Who Sourced the Ethnicity Story of my DNA?

Here we began to add Matches to our family tree and track how those we explored were related, indicating Maternal or Paternal Side. We were feeding Ancestry important information its computers were busily absorbing and analyzing. Specifically, Ancestry began examining the strings of letters that reveal the two halves of each rung on the helix ladder to divide (given evidence of our info and of our DNA Matches) to see what denoted Paternal or Maternal. Here is a link to Ancestry's explanation:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A recent email from Ancestry highlights the latest technology being utilized by Ancestry and the tools offered to subscribers:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Celebrate DNA Day with Ancestry®.

On April 25, people around the globe commemorate the discovery of the double helix. At Ancestry®, we’re passionate about DNA technology and developing tools to help people explore their heritage.

This DNA Day, explore our innovative AncestryDNA® tools and features, like our most recent developments:

    Sideview™ technology*
    Our first‑of‑its‑kind technology can show which side of your family tree your ethnicity estimates and DNA matches are from.
    Chromosome painter*
    Gain a sense of which parts of your DNA tie back to the regions in your ethnicity estimate.
    Family Compare
    See your DNA matches’ ethnicity estimates and communities right alongside yours.
    Our latest DNA Traits*
    Learn how your genes may influence whether you’re a risk‑taker, a morning person, and someone who likes a good nap.

NOTE>*Some DNA features may require an Ancestry® subscription.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Chromosome Painter.
    Ancestry tells us:
      To find the chromosome painter:
      1. Go to your DNA story.
      2. Scroll down to the Ethnicity inheritance card and click View breakdown.
      3. Select the Chromosome painter tab.

Ever wonder where in your DNA your connection to a certain region lies?

With our chromosome painter, you can get an idea. It “paints” your DNA with your ethnicities, showing where in your DNA we found the regions that make up your ethnicity estimate. With this different view of your ethnicity estimate, you can also see which biological parent your ethnicity came from. Click Link Here:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I haven't explored this excellent new technology yet but plan to do so. Perhaps this tool can help break down the Five Brick Walls against which our Research Head has been banging for years now. I hope to try this out, solve a mystery or two and report results at a later date. Fingers crossed!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Family Compare:

    Family Compare provided a look into how each family member inherits DNA in different "handfuls" from the same pool of available chromosomes.
    This technology is in its Beta stage. To explore select My DNA Story which brings up your Ethnicity Estimate. Scroll down and see a link: Compare to my Matches. Click and you're given options to play with. Mine provided my two closest matches (sister and daughter) and set up columns to see how our DNA ethnicity compared by each breakdown. You are also given the option of removing or adding selected matches.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Family Traits: mostly an ad to entice you to add another feature.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To sum up, I found the explanation of how Sideview Technology works the most interesting.

Chromosome Painter will need to be explored before I can evaluate its value. I hope to find time to check it out.

Traits. I pass although I did take the time to answer queries as to my own traits in all the categories. I did this hurriedly so not sure how informative my responses may prove to be.

A surprise? Between the time I started this column today and when I examined Family Compare, my DNA Matches surpassed 100,000 as a few new Matches showed up.

Fascinating what we can discover about ourselves and our family from the comfort of our armchair. Continue your own Armchair Genealogy and look for my next month's column. Who knows? Maybe some of this new technology will yield the clues we need to solve some long-standing tree mysteries!

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Woo Woo

By Pauline Evanosky

How Talking to Spirit Can Improve Your Writing

The purpose of these articles in the WooWoo Column here at Pencil Stubs is to give you, Dear Reader, a glimpse into what it is like to be a psychic. This had long fascinated me, and going into it, I had all sorts of misconceptions of how my life might be if I ever learned how to channel.

It took me years of introspective work and a lot of what at the time looked like weirdo woo-woo work, but eventually, I broke through, and it all became rather ordinary. I have also met people who took all of 15 minutes to begin to channel but who had also been doing the necessary introspective work for years long before we met. It all sort of evens out.

What took me by surprise was how much Folk in Spirit were going to eventually help me with my writing.

There is a beginning stage of learning how to channel when it is a little difficult to differentiate who said what. I don’t know about other psychic channels, but it is what happened to me. It didn’t last long, maybe a few days, until I began to sense where I left off and my Spirit Guide began. What concerned me, in the beginning, was that I was I would be subsumed in the world of Spirit and never again be able to have my own genuine voice.

I need not have feared that. It did not happen, but I was afraid of it. So, the first few days when I was talking with Spirit, and at that time it was only my Spirit Guide Seth I talked to, I went around saying in my head, “Did you say that, or did I think it?” So, yes, that was weird.

Thankfully, all that did not last longer than three days, and the one thread of thought I was experiencing began to split into two threads. One was me, and the other was Spirit. That was when I began to know in my heart who was talking. The only one in Spirit I talked to in that first year was my Spirit Guide. I was shy about meeting other Folk in Spirit. I knew Seth. I did not know Mozart, who, by the way, was the first other personality in Spirit I talked to.

I refused all help from my Spirit Guide, Seth, to improve my writing. That was my business, and I was going to take care of it. I had never collaborated with anyone else. It all felt like I was cheating. Now, it doesn’t seem to matter. I am accustomed to the give and take, and when Spirit wants to say something, I just set their comments in bold italics font.

How does that help anyone?

Well, it was so people didn’t get confused and so you could get credit for whatever you were saying.

Forsooth, that was a good idea.

Friends and customers of the WooWoo column, you see now that Folk in Spirit can sometimes have a different style and language than I do with the forsooth stuff.

That’s why we said it that way. Why don’t you go on with your story to illustrate how else you write with Spirit?

Okay. So, I can tell enough about who is talking to know when to go back every little while in the piece I am writing and set Spirit’s part in a different font. I could do it at the end of the piece, but then it’s a lot of work, especially if our talk goes on for a while. Also, I can get a bit of the editing done at the same time. Occasionally whoever in Spirit is talking can add or change whatever they were talking about.

What I didn’t realize is that literary characters also have a voice. Technically, they are not people who lived and died and then became members of the Folk in Spirit group but danged if they didn’t start talking to me.

Once during one of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) writing challenges, I determined I wanted to write a book set in the late 1800s in South Dakota. This was going to be historical fiction. The central character was going to be a young man who was either a cowboy or a farmer. That’s really all I knew. I played around on paper with who this person was, all the sorts of stuff a writer needs to know before they begin to write. Suddenly, somebody in Spirit started writing.

I typed in, “Who are you?” He said something along the lines of his name being Daniel, and he was that character I was writing about. Needless to say, I was super surprised. I asked him what he looked like. I do remember him saying something about having six-pack abs. It got funny. So, anyway, that’s who Daniel is.

I don’t let on in the story that he is really a person in Spirit. Whether his name is really Daniel, or he is my Spirit Guide Seth in disguise, I really don’t know. Right now, the title of that book is “Daniel’s Story.” I am working on other projects right now so that part of the book has been laid to rest for a while. Also, I began at the beginning with the advent of his birth, which ended up taking too much time in the book. I’ve figured that can be a before-the-book-begins story or background material. Oh, he just made me laugh. He said, “I want to be a banker now. I’ve changed my mind.” It’s funny.

This aspect of channeling never occurred to me prior to me embracing my psychic self. It’s funny because it actually happens to many writers who do not profess to be psychic channels.

I remember Diana Gabaldon talking about how she came to write the Outlander series of books. I remember her saying it was snowing, and her sons were all home being boisterous boys. All she wanted was something to do that would distract her. In fact, “The Outlander” was supposed to be a practice for her.

Diana is, by training, a microbiologist, and all she wanted to do was to write a little bit. She was toying around with a story, and Claire Beachamp showed up. Claire is the heroine in the Outlander books. Diana said to her, “Who the hell are you?” That’s when Claire said she was a nurse from 1945 and had time traveled 200 years in the past to 1743 in Scotland. At the time of this writing, Diana is working on the tenth book in the series.

So, all of that happens on paper, mostly. I suppose it could also happen if you were dictating your book, which, to me, is verbal channeling as opposed to written channeling.

I have, on occasion, asked my guide or just any available spirit in the vicinity to help me. I do that with my husband’s keys when he occasionally misplaces them. Years ago, my Spirit Guide would say, “Look up” which I did not consider helpful. Once, I had looked everywhere and, unable to find Dennis’ keys said silently, “Please help me.”Whereupon I looked down into an open kitchen drawer where the keys were nestled in the corner. Dennis had swept them off the counter or tossed them there, aiming for the counter, I suppose.

I have also asked my Spirit Guide to help me quit drinking, quit smoking, and lose weight. Losing weight was the first time I ever asked for help. Never again. I lost 50 pounds, but I let the bossiest individual I have ever chanced to meet act just like a marine drill sergeant. “Put that back. Spit that out. Hide that in the freezer.” I am very cautious about asking for dietary help anymore from my invisible friends.

Getting help with my writing from Spirit is a pleasure. By now, my association with spirit is long-standing and quite comfortable. I have been channeling since 1993, which 2023 is a good 30 years ago. I accept help gladly.

Regularly, as I edit, I get helpful hints. A writer might say it was themselves doing the editing. With me? I know it is Spirit by my side.

Thanks for reading. If you ever want to get some hints about channeling, you are invited to contact me at pmevanosky @

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Cooking with Rod


By Rod Cohenour

This is a guest Cooking Editor
within a guest Cooking Editor column:
Presenting our sweet niece
SeLena May Olgin's appearance again
for our May 2023 "Cooking with Rod" column.

Bon appetit ~!

Cooking with Leo

So now we have the opportunity to rest on our laurels and simply introduce Guest Cooks from time to time. Dear Sweet Italian Fairy Godmother suggests that good cooks run in the family and she cast her eye in SeLena May's direction saying that one has a real touch in the Kitchen. So when asked to help out, Wow! that gal whupped up a tasty dish you can serve hot or cold and set back and listen to the applause. Here's the way she does what it takes to get it on the table.

SeLena May's Apple Crispy Treat

Here is your recipe for this great treat:

  • 6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3/4 Cup pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Cup flour
  • 1/2 Cup rolled Oats
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup softened Butter
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 Tsp Cloves
  • 1/2 Cup Pecans, chopped

Here is how to do it:

Mix together Flour, Oats, Brown Sugar, and spices, and half of the pecans; set aside.

Put apples in baking dish first and coat well with Maple Syrup.

Mix butter into dry mixture til crumbly then sprinkle over the apples

Sprinkle remaining pecans on top.

Bake in 350-degree oven 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Very good ala mode or served with large glass of milk.
SeLena says it is good hot out of the oven but still good the next day cold.
She has tried different varieties of Apples but prefers the sweeter Red Delicious or Mackintosh. The green Granny Smith or Golden Delicious are more tart and you may want to add more sugar for them.
She suggests around Thanksgiving to add some of the dried cranberries (Craisins) with the apples.

SeLena May Olgin

Take Care Now, Ya’heah!

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Sifoddling Along


By Marilyn Carnell

Discovering Asian Television

The winter of 2022-23 was exceptionally long and snowy in Minnesota. It seemed there was one “snow emergency” after another and at least one blizzard (a rare event in the Twin Cities).

I was housebound for days at a time and became desperate for diversion. That is when I stumbled upon Asian television which has recently become popular worldwide. Netflix has been part of my life for some time, but this fall it started promoting Asian shows on the home page. I was curious and clicked on one. I don’t recall what it was, the story wasn’t particularly memorable, but soon K-Dramas became my “go-to” place when I was bored with other interests.

I also found a free channel called “Viki Rakuten” that often has shows not available on Netflix. Although South Korean shows are the most well-known, there are many other countries now making them – Mainland China, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and more.

Closed captions are always on when I watch TV. I am not hard of hearing, but I like the additional information they frequently provide. Thus, reading the English captions was no problem for me. They are also ideal for binge-watching as they are usually formatted in 12-20 episodes that are about ½ to one hour long. The names often sound like they were translated by someone drinking heavily.

What first caught my attention was the blatant product promotion. The dream of any American company is to have their product shown in a favorable manner in a film. It is advertising heaven, but difficult to achieve. That is not true in some other countries, especially in South Korean works. If your only source of information was watching their shows, you would think they eat at Subway frequently, drive luxury cars and even women in the lowest-paying jobs wear Chanel suits. It seems to be part of the current South Korean culture to desire high-end goods like purses, shoes, and cars. I haven’t seen furs worn in years in the US, but older Korean women occasionally wear them – usually in very different modern designs.

Storylines are often predictable but vary enough to be somewhat addictive. It is fun to learn smidges of their culture and see it in transition. They may have Western-style furniture like couches and beds but will sit on the floor in front of them at a low table for tasks or eating.

It doesn’t take long to identify favorite actors and follow their work. It takes longer for me to learn their names and become accustomed to the usual practice of making their family name an essential part of addressing someone. One of the easier ones is Lee Min Ho (Boys Over Flowers). Lee is his family name and only those closest to him can call him Min Ho. Other favorites are Song Joog-ke (Vincenzo, Descendants of the Sun) and Jung Hae-in (Something in the Rain, One Spring Night).

There are many genres, something for almost any taste. Conventional stories like romantic comedies, family dramas, and suspense are common, but so are time travel, magic, games, and historic costume dramas.

I would recommend beginning with one of the films mentioned above or the following shows:

    Vincenzo – is a story about a Korean orphan adopted by an Italian Mafia family and his adventures in attempting to retrieve a stash of gold bars hidden in a rundown building in Seoul. The secondary characters are delightfully eccentric and funny.
    Crash Landing on You – a wealthy South Korean woman is paragliding when a sudden storm blows her into a landing in North Korea where she meets a handsome soldier. The contrast between the two countries is fascinating and it is a clever story.
    Start Up – a motley group of young people is given the opportunity to create a tech company in a business “incubator”.

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By Thomas F. O'Neill

May is the last full month of spring, and it is named for the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants, also from the Latin word maiores, “elders,” who were celebrated during this month. Maia was considered a nurturer and an earth goddess, which may explain the connection with this springtime month.

Undoubtedly May is a beautiful month for both hemispheres. In the North, spring is gradually blooming into summer, while the South celebrates autumn's beautiful colors and harvest.

This month has the energy to help us reach our goals and heart desires. We utilize May’s energies by going the extra mile with our projects; watching them succeed will be our ultimate reward.

May will also bring about movements in areas of expansion and spiritual growth, a time when we feel like we can rise above any adversity. The magical concept of May is that you don’t know if you’re going to actually succeed until you move out of yourself and give it a go.

The 1st of May marks the Beltane festival for the northern hemisphere, and Samhain is also celebrated on the 1st of May in the southern hemisphere. It was a time to dance, sing, and to be merry. A time to emit your inner light and to show your love; it was also celebrated to usher in the new season.

Like all months in the Gregorian calendar, May was named by ancient cultures. The Greeks called it May after their goddess Maia, referred to in Roman culture as Bona Dea.

Let this month usher in positive energy to work on self-improvement. Live the journey and let your self-expression shine, dare to do things differently, and pose the question, “What can I do to make this world a better place.”

Also, take the time on May 14th to wish all Mothers a happy Mother’s Day.

Always with love,
Thomas F O'Neill

    WeChat - Thomas_F_ONeill
    Phone: (410) 925-9334
    Skype: thomas_f_oneill


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On Trek

By Judith Kroll

How to capture that sense-stirring View?

Do I paint it with a brush?

Do I use my camera for a picture?

I could describe it with words that ebb and flow with love.

It is snuggled in my memory bank, settled in.

When I close my eyes and mentally visualize,

I feel, see, smell, and hear the magnificent view.

All My senses have arisen for the moment of memory.

It compares to seeing a loved one’s face,

We are no longer able to “see” on the planet.

A person, an animal, a place, or a thing.

All is forever etched into our hearts,

Our soul, our whole being.

Many forever memories exist within.

Judith 4/20/23

Purple Poppy photo sent by
Baruch Frenkel of Haifa, Israel,
who says "Nature is Awesome"

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Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon

Proverbs, A Harper, and A Death-Mask.

“ Proverbs are not only for ornament and delight , but also for active and civil use; as being the edge tools of speech which cut and penetrate the knots of business and affairs. “--Bacon.

Who could argue with Bacon? And has anyone made better use of proverbs than Dubliner Fiann Ó' Nualláin? 52 Proverbs to Build Resilience against Anxiety and Panic - An Experience in Irish Holistic Wisdom which was published on 28th April is the latest work of Fiann who is a well known author and media person. This author an award-winning garden designer, who is has been involved not only in therapeutic horticulture but social and outreach therapy for more than twenty years. He is the author of mindfulness manuals and regularly contributes to wellness segments, TV, and radio panel discussions. Proverbs, or Sean-fhocail in Irish, are made up of the accumulated wisdom of our ancestors through generations. Like fables and parables Irish proverbs and the accompanying exercises in this book would help chart a course through life's obstacles to find greater happiness, calm, and meaning for us all..

I asked Fiann what prompted him to white this useful and beneficial work. He told me, “My background is in social and therapeutic horticulture and medicinal botany. The medicinal botany led me to write about herbalism and growing your own foods and medicines for the Irish examiner and to doing some slots on morning television with RTE and TV3 about gardening for health which all led to a few books as ‘the holistic gardener’ with Mercier press.; first aid from the garden, beauty treatments from the garden, natural cures for common ailments.

But in all that time I was working a day job as a social and therapeutic horticulturalist with Dublin city council, the HSE and other agencies – and that was about creating gardens and allotments to help people rehabilitate form illness (like a natural physiotherapy) or get distracted from their life woes and worries (as part of social prescribing and nature therapy). And as over the years the client base grew more on the psychological side so I retrained in mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy, psychotherapies, sociology and addiction studies to better understand the problems of the clients and better work ways of how to support, so while the tai chi and the yoga got introduced along with the aromatherapy and herbal tea cultivation so too the positive psychology and journaling came into play. A lot of those exercises that worked for many clients made their way into this book. Not as holistic gardening but as the pure life skill or mindset methods.

The book was written during the first pandemic because the allotments and clinical centres were closed down and I was scrambling to keep people toped up by phone and zoom and fire fighting surges in anxiety and desperation, and I was often using a proverb or technique as a starting point. Also, I had my own experiences with negative psychology as a teenager and all the methods I had put in place to stop that breaking into behaviour over the years seemed to be the opposite advice during Covid where panic and hypervigilance was the atmosphere if not order of the day, and the book was both my way to regain control and stay grounded but also to contribute something that I know will be helpful to many as the new normal seems to include a lot of uncertainties and stress triggers.

I had been thinking a long time about a book about gardening and mental health, but this book seemed more appropriate. The proverbs are what we have passed from generation to generation through all sorts of crisis, including invasions, famines, wars and mass emigrations – they hold such power, I just felt if ever they were needed its now and yes the pandemic is over and we are all recovering best we can but anxiousness is still palpable, and worse it is part of the daily now, from fomo (fear of mission out) to how we are marketed everything from toothpaste to soap operas, don’t miss out, you need this, pay attention, don’t make the mistake of not.

We live in a high alert world, and not every tension is necessary. I hope the book can help reset some of that, or at least equip with the skills to short circuit any negative reactions to all the triggers.”

Fiann dissects each proverb and finds hidden meanings and food for thought in each one. I’ll give you couple of examples of what he could find:

Chíonn beirt rud nach bhfeiceann duine amháin
Two people see a thing that one may not
“This proverb echoes the idiom ‘Two heads are better than one’; that a problem shared, whatever about its load being halved becomes a problem more easily solved. Two perspectives are better than one on seeing the bigger picture, on triangulating the problem, on working out an answer. We as individuals can not only be so caught up in our panic and distress, and not on top of our solution-finding game – distracted from the focus and awareness re- quired to be match fit but we can also be trapped in our assumptions and prejudices and so truly need some balance to our biases. We may need some coaching, or just a half time pep-talk to get our perspective and gameplan back on track.

The chemistry of stress in our system is responsible for brain fog and difficulty in decision-making, it is not admitting defeat to get help, it is the wise move. So yes, talk to a friend, mention your woe to a family member, ring a help line, join a support group, see a counsellor. Get that extra head on the case.Caveat – people are often well meaning but not necessarily well equipped, so be selective before you recruit shoulder to cry on or an ear to confide in. Not every friend or family member will understand where you are coming from or what you are trying to achieve. Some may want to soothe your hurt and so say all the right things that make the pain go away temporarily – generic pacifiers such as ‘it’s not your fault’, ‘you are doing great’, ‘it will pass in time’, ‘don’t worry about it’. That may soothe, but does it solve? Sure, some emotional comforting is good but pulling out the bullet is better. . . “

Ní dhéanfaidh smaoineamh an treabhadh duit
You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind.

“We may well need to think some things through, but we also need to address and rectify errant thinking, future apprehension, rumination and procrastination – and we do achieve that by doing. By engaging with more mindful and CBT practices – putting the work in. CBT is not just talking about problems; it is problem-solving. Mindfulness is not just emptying the mind of negative thoughts; it is experiencing positive actions. Positive psychology is not just feeling good while ploughing the field, it is knowing how to cultivate a better existence. . .”

Fiann Ó' Nualláin

If you suffer with anxiety or any of the allied disorders or just looking for practical guidance for living a more fulfilling life and consequently contributing to the fulfilment of others , Mercier Press and this experienced and inspired author has brought you a valuable resource. A blend of ancient Irish wisdom and modern techniques, a valuable tool for anyone seeking peace and calm in mad, mad, world.


* * * * *

Patrick Byrne

Féile Patrick Byrne consists of traditional music, dance and singing workshops plus concerts, sessions, a sets céilí, historical walk and lecture. The event honours Patrick Byrne (c.1794-1863), the last noted exponent of the historical Gaelic harp and the first Irish traditional musician ever photographed.

A traditional music festival held annually on the Palm Sunday weekend in and around Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan and organised by the Carrickmacross branch of Comhaltas, the Féile was set up to act as a flagship event in the promotion of Irish traditional music in the locality.

The aim of the festival is to provide high quality tuition to local musicians; to expose local audiences and players to the work of leading exponents of traditional music and to develop an audience for traditional arts using the heritage of Patrick Byrne who was born around 1799 in Magheracloone. He lost his sight from smallpox as a child and was known as Pádraig Dall O Beirn. He died on April 08th, 1863. This year’s Feile began on March 30th and the opening address, titled “The Harper that Once,” was given by Carrickmacross native and great-great, grandnephew of Patrick Byrne, Frank McNally.

Frank is a popular, globe-trotting journalist with the Irish Times ( ”The paper of record”) and a leading authority on Myles na Goplainn/ Flann O Brien/Brian IO Nuallain and Patrick Kavanagh. Speaking of which, Cork sculptor Seamus Murphy RHA is known to have made only three death masks in his lifetime, Patrick Kavanagh mask being the second. Kavanagh died on the early hours of the 1st December 1967 in the Merrion Nursing Home. Seamus Murphy the sculptor took the mould for a death mask later on the same day. Murphy a contemporary of Kavanagh's had first met him in Cork 1943. He has made a significant impression on Kavanagh who admired the intensity of his personality.

The present mask, went under the hammer at Adams Auction Rooms, Dublin on April 28. The expected price was €6000 - €8000 but as far as I can gather it was unsold. It was believed to have at one time belonged to Joan Ryan of whom Kavanagh was very fond, having proposed marriage to her when she was already dating Senator Eoin Ryan who later became her husband. Signed and dated by Seamus Murphy this death mask constitutes an iconic image of one of Ireland's greatest and definitely most popular poets.

See you in June.

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A Mother's Lessons


By Danielle Cote Serar

I have a fairly new routine in my life. I pick up my daughter from school and inevitably her baby brother falls asleep either right before I grab her or quickly after. So we grab Starbucks and head to a local not-busy park where I sit with him in the car and watch her play. When he wakes, we join her. It works for us. My high-energy daughter gets to work out some of that energy and my baby boy gets his much-needed nap.

But the observer I am, has noticed a few interesting things. I often find myself saying she’s now here earth side, she has a lot to learn when she has big feelings that express themselves loudly often when it’s the most inconvenient or when she asks me the billionth question for the day. But after watching her play for several weeks now, I think in reality I know I, or rather we, have a lot to learn from kids like her.

No matter who arrives, the parents always find a bench or a place away from the other parents. And the funny thing is, they always take the farthest spots from each other. And the trend continues as new parents arrive. I’m guilty of it too. And I don’t even know why I do it. We don’t talk to each other. We may nod and say a polite and courteous hello. But that’s about it. We naturally divide ourselves, separating naturally.

Then there are the kids… and whether they are shy or they are outgoing, it’s all the same. The outgoing kids jump right on in while the shy kiddos may take a bit to warm up, but the result is always the same. They play together sharing everything, no qualms about anything. They embrace each other for their similarities and common goal rather than focusing on their differences. Most of the time they compromise and just do… See it’s simple for them.

Somewhere along the way society and growing up messes it all up. We become hyper-focused on our uncomfortableness with the unfamiliar, with wanting what we want, and our own understanding of how we operate in the world. We start to see me and you against each other versus us and what we can do together. We naturally separate, divide, and group ourselves forgetting that at one point the goal was to “play, have fun, and enjoy time together.”

Or in adult words, we forget that what we are when we started in this world is the same even today as we try to adult daily… we are all people. We are all still here trying to do our best to live a fruitful productive life, and for the most part, to be good people. We seem to forget that end goal and seem to focus on the differences, the divide, instead of remembering what we knew when we were kids… it really as simple as extending a hand and an invite. Honestly, the more and more I think about it, I really think we all need to watch our little kids and grandkids more, learn the lessons they know in the core of their being, untainted by societal issues, that, and maybe watch Sesame Street again…
Danielle Serar


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Tribute to Lena May Joslin Carroll

Tribute to Lena May Joslin Carroll

By Mary E. Adair

This is a tribute to my mother who was born at midnight May 6 or May 7 of 1918. Both days are shown on her birth certificate because at the time there was apparently a type of 'daylight saving' time in existence that all residents of Missouri did not recognize. The non- daylight saving time would have shown 11 pm on the 6th but her birthday was always celebrated as May 7, 1918, although she never failed to mention it should be the 6th.

Her entire life was composed of such decisions setting them on the scale of yes/no, do/don't, go/stay, with a thread of understanding for the decision not chosen. She saw everyone's viewpoint but the one definite measuring stick for her life was her relationship with her God. Even the night that she received the proposal of marriage from my father who, having been denied the usage of the horse and buggy because of icy roads, had walked the distance into town from his grandparent's farm where he resided during his school years and was at that time visiting with the proposal his main reason for being back in Missouri from Texas. With his romantic sense of timing, no other day was appropriate than Valentine's Day for his request. Thus he had arrived later than planned, thoroughly soaked, completely chilled, but ardently persistent, and after receiving his "yes" was sent by my grandparents to bed down in the spare room for the night. His timing had been perfect because Grandfather Joslin was a mountain of a man who struck terror into the hearts of any of Mother's would-be beaus, but he was currently nursing a broken ankle, which my father-to-be confidently figured he could out-run if necessary.

But on that night, Mother penned the following:

Love is God's Gift

Love - love - what can it be
A sturdy bridge twix thee and me?
Or just a shady stair
Trembling in every breath of air?
Or could it be that God so great
Has sent His love to those who meet
And vow to always be the other's friend
And try to all his sorrows mend?
For God is there in every union
That's rooted in devout communion.
With vows to be true, each to the other
And God's help to be a good father and mother
For in God we Trust -
For love that time cannot rust!
A Marriage is made in Heaven they say,
Must yet be lived on this earth each day!
But with help from God up above,
And our hearts joined in true love,
Perhaps this life we both can live,
And keep that center of love alive
Thru all our daily pressures.
Thank you, God - Our thanks go to You!
And may we always be true to You.

©February 14, 1934 Lena May Joslin

Their marriage endured 62 years from their wedding date of June 10, 1934, until Daddy Jack passed away on July 1, 1996. They shared their lives, their goals, their love for their families, and their work as well. Granted, Moma May had come to this marriage already somewhat spoiled because during those hard years before she was born, three little brothers had been lost in an epidemic that swept through most of Missouri reaping a harvest of babies, infants and youngsters. The cemeteries blossomed with new markers and bouquets of flowers brought by mourners. Therefore, when Mother came along, my grandparents were so frightened that something would happen to her, they hovered over her, trying to smother any individual effort on her part that might lead to dangers only a parent would imagine. Such behavior on their part not only spoiled her but led her to outrageous testing of their fidelity.

One Sunday morning after she had been dressed in the layers of clothing proper for young ladies of barely three, all pristinely white and hand stitched and embroidered, she proceeded to crawl into the pot-belly of the large living room furnace which had been removed from that position with the warm weather and placed at the corner of the kitchen garden so the ashes could be washed out to enrich the soil. Needless to say, the carbon and ashes adhered faithfully to Mother and to her garb. Grandmother patiently cleaned her up, hurried to re-dress her and once more continued to her barbering of Grandfather so they could also get dressed for Church. Not once more but twice more, Mother explored the stove, and the third time Grandmother spatted Mother's sooty little behind, then dropped to her knees, crying and praying in fear that God would take Mother away since she had actually struck her. She and grandfather both prayed fearfully all day, blaming themselves as bad parents for placing the temptation of the stove in her way. No wonder she grew up so spoiled.

But Daddy Jack, an only child, raised by his mother, grandmother and occasionally his two aunts, grew up believing all women were precious people and deserved to exist upon pedestals being worshipped by such as he. MomaMay didn't mind the worship, but she did mind being tied to a pedestal and soon taught him that she, who had grown into quite a tomboy, could outrun, outswim, out shoot, and out talk him and most other people except perhaps her formidable mother-in-law, his own mother Nora Viola Alexander Carroll Fisher King. At least she convinced him she could be with him in any activity - side by side.

When the war broke out, mother's brother Jackie Oakley Joslin, just out of High School, was living with them and working with Daddy Jack. They went to Vancouver, Washington, to work in the Kaiser Ship Yards, and found a place to stay at a race track Bagley Downs which had been creatively altered into rows and rows of duplex housing around the central recreation center and management building. Mother bundled us girls into the 1937 Chevrolet packed so full that we were lying on top of blankets with our pillows and coloring books almost level with the top of the front seat back. A neighbor, Henry Smith, who had "been to Oregon" and had kinfolk there, was to share the driving and go along as a guard for Mother and us girls.

Before we got to the New Mexico line, Mr. Smith complained that his eyesight was failing badly, but "he knew every step of the way" so we all continued with mother driving and him 'navigating.'

Once there, Mother got us girls settled and cared for, mostly by either her, DaddyJack, or Uncle Jackie as they worked different shifts, for she too, had hired on like Rosie the boiler maker. Mother, who had learned to weld because she considered it a neat thing to know, also had learned how to handle wiring and other electronics so she signed up for their electrician school while also working, and was soon certified as Journeyman Electrician. Daddy Jack was in the Pipe Fitters Union, and was working at inspecting welds in the testing area. Jackie was also in that union and he was on board ship making connections where needed. I was in school but the two younger girls weren't and we all three stayed at the Rec Center where they did child care. They were there all day until one of the family was home to pick them up, and I was there for half of the day because the schools were doing two shifts daily to try to get all the influx of students schooled without building new schools. I went to school on the bus at noon and was bussed home around 7 pm because it was nearly an hour of travel going and coming.

With mother's skill at blueprints she soon became the foreman of her crew picked with a total absence of bigotry from several ethnic backgrounds, all who exhibited the exacting abilities needed to put the wiring between bulkheads in the new 'baby' flattops being produced. The term referred to the smaller, quicker aircraft carriers recently designed.

After the war mother never slowed down, but poured a lot of her energy into various hobbies, local organizations, and rearing four daughters. When Daddy became an iceman, Mother worked there too, doing the secretarial duties. She was a fine seamstress, and a creative homemaker. Over the years she let her artistic nature turn to painting and even a nominal amount of sculpture. She was a rockhound and president of the local group, so she and Daddy became lapidarists, accumulating and designing, and building various equipment to enhance their hobby.

When it was deemed time to enlarge the house, Mother did the blueprints, and was the electrician while Daddy was the building contractor, with only the concrete slab being sub-contracted at that time. Mother even laid the brick for the flowerbeds, and she and Daddy did the chimney. He did all the cabinetry in the house, and Mother did the finishing.

She seemed to be always ready to travel at the drop of a hat; but in fact was always jotting down lists of what was needed, detailed packing ideas, and maps to where she'd like to go. She and Daddy traveled extensively driving and camping, and after he passed away in 1996, she and Jacquelyn, and I went to Canada. Later in 2000, the three of us persuaded Jacqui's daughter and my daughter to accompany us. Some of the pics shown are from that trip.

Because of her abiding Faith in her God, she was a quiet example of belief to her family, though she was a joyful person and loved family gatherings. When she passed away March 3, 2010, one of her great-grandsons and his wife wrote a poem in her memory. As she was a poet herself, she would have been very pleased to see another member of the family with such talent. Adam and Prisca have allowed me to publish it as a part of this tribute.

Great Grandmother

Great Grandmother O' so Great
We surely miss you as of late
Though we shed a mournful tear
The things you've shared remain so dear
You taught us how not to run
But how to make life more fun
You opened our hearts to the guiding light
That guides us through the stormy night.
You said you know just who saves us
So enjoy the gifts that God gave us
And be understanding of our fear
But rejoice knowing I'm up here.
Now you are with our father up above
Thus we can still feel your love.
Your legacy of truth still echoes under our roof
What is real will last forever and that is our proof
No matter how hard times may get
Your memory we will not forget
And so we express in a loving way
We hope to see you again one day.
You have shown a way to Paradise
And that is why Great Grandmother in the sky
We surely miss you as of late
Because your love is so Great
For Heaven's sake.

©March 2010 Adam Bradshaw and Prisca

Mother's services were held March 13 at Bluebonnet Hills Funeral Home, and she was laid to rest next to Daddy in the Bluebonnet Hills Memorial Park, Colleyville, Texas.

Below you will find thumbnail pics throughout Mother's life, and you can see a larger pic by clicking the description in blue. The four generation pic of the elderly Grandmother Bullard, Grandmother Joslin, Mother, and the baby Mary Elizabeth was timed fortuitously as Grandmother Bullard died not many months later. The picture of Mother wading in the Pecos River is historic as it shows what a mighty river it was in 1934 when she and Daddy returned to live in Texas after their marriage.

1. The 4-generation pic mentioned above.

2.Mom wading in Pecos River in 1934

3.Oval frame with wedding pic.

4.Mom holding sister Linnie Jane.

5.Mom at 5 with a friend.

6.Mom at 16 in her engagement photo.

7. Mom with parents Artie and Carrie Joslin and siblings Linnie Jane, Jackie, and Rex about 1935.

8. Mom, Daddy, Melinda, Jacquie, Noralee, and me, our core family.

9. Mom with Shiela and Ray Kyle.

10. Mom and Daddy with Jacquie for her TWU graduation.

11 Melinda, Daddy, Me, Mom Christmas 1963.

12. Mom and Daddy in Cockerell Hill home.

13. Pinkerton portrait of Mom in 1952.

14. Mom wanted her portrait done before she became a grandmother and Pinkerton Studio was chosen.

15. AG and I took Mom on a trip in late July 1996.

16. Pic taken during trip in 2000 to Ontario.

17. Jacquie, Mom, Kim, and Kathy in Carrollton to dine.

18. Guthrie, OK Church portrait in 1992.

19. Mom and Melinda in graduation Limo for Melissa's celebration.

20. Mom anticipating sharing our May birthdays.

21. Five generation photo with Mom, me, Dottie, and her girls SeLena May, Rachel, and Jennifer with sons Cyrus and Trojans.



22. Mom always had a green thumb and loved the Bougainvilleas.

23. Mom with little Tito returning to Sarasota from Orlando after hurricane Wilma, October 2005.

24. We got to be together for our Birthdays.

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