Monday, January 1, 2024

Editor's Corner

By Mary E. Adair

January 2024

. "The magic in new beginnings is truly
the most powerful of them all.”

--Josiyah Martinl

Finding it difficult to imagine what great strides our lives may be taking in this new year. Perhaps AI, the Artificial Intelligence that is enthralling everyone, could predict an outcome, but, hey, that by its very nature would most likely be "Artificial."

Guess we shall just wait and see. Hopefully our authors will be bursting with new visions and liklihoods to pour into next issue which shall be the first for Volume 27 of this Art and Literature eZine.

Walt Perryman's "One Day After Christmas" poem also displays a photo of his wife Laura and him during the Christmas season. His encore poem "About New Year's Eve" is not only timely but excellent advice. Bruce Clifford's "The Blame" is his only composition this time. John I. Blair is still under the weather, but fortunately we have a treasure trove of his poetry to bless this January Pencil Stubs, including his prize winner poem "Sputnik." (Details included.) His other three are "Hay," "If Time Is A River," and "Taking The Sun in January."Bud Lemire's "In The New Year" is spot on, and his other three are "When I'm Gone," "The Elf on The Shelf," and a beautiful tribute to his late sister, "Dottie." There is one from your editor, "Not The Me" that is on the reminiscent side.

"Introspective" by Thomas F. O'Neill welcomes the New Year, while Marilyn Carnell's column "Sifoddling Along" reveals plans of several projects for her coming days, and likely months. Judith Kroll's column "On Trek" is so like her--we have met and I can speak knowingly--and is a comforting essay. Pauline Evanosky's column "Woo Woo," is intriguing, as she's one of our authors who has learned to use the various AI sites and shares her expertise. Our new columnist Ara Parisien in "Medium-Author-Spiritual Teacher" discusses visitations and various examples of them. This is a subject your editor has been looking forward to reading.

Rod Cohenour's "Cooking with Rod" features a scrumptious recipe and he confided that he considers a serving to offer three of the small chops from his French Onion Pork Chops. "Armchair Genealogy" by columnist Melinda Cohenour looks ahead to the new year as an opportunity to delve more deeply into family connections, with the continued quest for info for five "brick walls." Mattie Lennon of Dublin, nostalgically tells about his "Best" Christmas, and previews a new book for his "Irish Eyes."

We recognize and gratefully bless our good fortune in knowing our co-founder and webmaster, Mike Craner, whose knowledge and expertise keeps Pencil Stubs Online actually online We know how busy he was during Christmas season as he "plays" Santa on an excursion train in Virginia, delighting children of all ages.. We place our confidence in him as we have in the past and shall continue doing so.

See you in February!.

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Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

Happy New Year!! Earth welcomes 2024 with a fervent wish for a brighter future - a reprieve from COVID and its many variations, peace around the world - praying for a quietude to descend upon the Middle East and an end to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, as well as renewed prosperity and equitable governance in our beloved United States.


This column is penned after a busy Christmas period which brought joy to our household. We only wish more of our grandchildren and their families could have shared with us in person.

And it precedes the celebration of so many family birthdays. As I write these words this 30th day of December, we acknowledge with joy the twin birthdays of our granddaughter Erin Elaine Bostick and her aunt Anne Bulut. Our discovery of Anne came about through DNA testing a few years back. Both Erin's mom (Melissa) and her cousin (Adam) tested and both test results showed a close family relationship with our beautiful Anne. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIN! HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANNE!

Through DNA testing our family has been blessed to discover additional half sisters and brothers to Melissa and Anne. These siblings now enjoy a loving relationship filled with frequent contact. Our Facebook friendships also now extend to those siblings' family members - a blessing enriched with each contact. We thank God for the discovery of these precious family "finds"!!

And, so, my mind turned again to my own DNA test results. For several months now, my focus has been on the shocking investigation of the Gilgo Beach Four. The discovery of these burlap-wrapped victims more than a decade ago launched an intensive search resulting in the location of ten sets of bodies or dismembered remains. A gruesome six-month immersion into the investigation of those murders was tied to the fascinating use of DNA to solve decades-old crimes. The arrest last July of Rex Heuermann triggered your author's in-depth pursuit of news related to the case. Now we patiently await 1) the trial of Heuermann, 2) identification of the three remaining mystery remains, and 3) any proof of the identity of the perpetrator responsible for the other victims' deaths. Are they all the victims of one serial killer? Or by some strange coincidence have all these skeletal remains been discarded by more than one monster? And will their cases be solved by the miracle of DNA?

As we await more news connected to this investigation, my interest has turned to more refreshing and joyful pursuits - just Who has been found through my own DNA testing? This promises to be a rather complex issue. Just taking a quick look at my new Ancestry DNA matches turned up the following (rather amazing) stats:

Ancestry shows 48,724 DNA matches tied to my Maternal line and 51,007 matches through my Paternal line. There are, interestingly, 209 matches that seem to link to BOTH parents and 3,896 matches that have yet to be assigned to either parent's lineage. That amounts to an astounding 103,836 living COUSINS (most relatives not of core family relationship will be cousins of some ilk).

Those 3,896 unassigned matches are anomalies that occur for various reasons: tests were processed after Ancestry's last update or Ancestry lacks sufficient information to assign to one or the other parent. These assignments are made without either of my parents having tested by virtue of Ancestry's computerized logarithms ability to compare long strands of my DNA which are identical to those matches. These strands are likely inherited from common ancestors. Examination of paper trails and other evidentiary sources lead to the identification of parental lines.

Ah, yes. Examination of the closest of these new DNA matches should occupy a goodly amount of time. Should some really interesting connections to historic figures show up, you can expect a column elucidating that tale. Otherwise, we shall continue to plod down that seemingly eternal path seeking to break down brick walls, our Five Brick Wall personages that have shown up before

Looking forward to a New Year of research. May you continue your own discoveries through Armchair Genealogy.

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Cooking with Rod


By Rod Cohenour

Winter has arrived and plans to stay awhile. It's time to turn from light fare like the soup and a sandwich menu to heartier, stick-to-your-ribs hot meals. This dish fulfills that need and is simple to prepare yet filling and delicious to boot.

Give this meal a try. I guarantee you'll find it a pleasure to serve.

~Bon appetit!

Rod's French Onion Pork Chops


  • 15 thin cut boneless pork chop  (plan to serve three small chops per person as they are small)
  • About 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • A good sprinkle of Mrs. Dash
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or corn oil
  • 28 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 10.5 oz can French Onion Soup
  • A light dash Worcestershire sauce (do not use much as it will over power the flavor)


    1. Rinse chops and dry thoroughly. Season both sides with spices.
    2. Prepare electric skillet (or regular skillet) by heating oil for braising chops.
    3. When oil and skillet are heated, begin braising chops on both sides
    4. Whisk together two soups and Worcestershire sauce until thoroughly combined. Pour over browned chops.
    5. Reduce heat to low simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes on low temperature. Meat will be fork tender and gravy will be thickened.

Serve chops with mashed potatoes (or rice or pasta), a nice salad, and a side of green beans or whatever you choose. Virtually foolproof recipe where the results are mouthwatering. Your dinner guests will rave and you will be pleased with how easy this meal is to prepare.

Rod's French Onion Pork Chops

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Woo Woo


By Pauline Evanosky


Psychics are the same as everybody else. It’s just that our friends are nearer to us than regular people. One resolution I want to embrace in the coming year is to pay more attention to my dreams. The dream state is where many people of spirit can come to visit with you. Who? My spirit guide, Seth, my relatives who have passed, mostly my mother. My pets who have passed visit. I would expect some of my literary characters might come. I’ve never had that happen, but if I can talk with them in an awakened state, there is no reason I couldn’t talk to them in the dream state. How in the world would you, who are reading this, make it happen for yourself? Don’t be afraid of it. Nobody shows up dripping grave goo. Everybody looks hale and hearty. They all wear clothes. Mostly. And all you have to do is to welcome the idea. In a few days, it might happen.

For instance, I’d been wanting to remember more of my dreams, and I realized I was not remembering the colors. I learned how to do this as a teenager. It took about three days of thinking about seeing color in my dreams often during each day, and then I began to notice what was going on in my dreams and the colors in them. This morning, I awakened, seeing a bright circle of yellow. I couldn’t tell you what it was to the sequence of the dream, but I awakened knowing I had just seen a bright disk of yellow. The other morning, I saw something that was peach or coral-colored. These are small steps, but they will eventually evolve into my remembering more of my dreams.

Everybody gets a chance to start anew when January rolls around. Whatever you are already doing, if you want to, can infuse it with new life or at least a little bit of enthusiasm. Ask yourself what you do regularly that can sometimes get you down.

Laundry? Does it depress you? Would you like a new spin on it? What is it about laundry that depresses you?

Is the mending you need to do putting you off? Did you know you can make fingerless gloves out of socks with holes in them? The problem with darning holes in socks is that you might be inviting blisters if you are not an expert darner.

So, wear your socks as long as you want, and when the time comes, cut them off a little bit over the heel. Heels and toes are where most holes happen. Now, you have a tube. You decide whether you want the finished end on your palm or nearer your elbow. Cut a two-inch slit where your thumbs can go, and bingo; you just saved $10 on some fingerless gloves. If you are handy with a needle and thread, you can finish the raw edges. Or not. This is one of those easy projects. I find them very handy when I am writing in a cold room. Plus, there is no rule that says you have to have matching gloves. You could use socks that have lost their mates.

What else about laundry is getting you down? You know what I do now? I have trouble getting up and down the stairs to our laundry room. So, I wash clothes in the kitchen sink now. Sometimes, I just use dish soap and not laundry soap. Hey, I found out it works. I remember to have a final soak in water with a scented softener and then hang the whole shebang on the porch on one of those dryer racks. Stuff that needs to be hung, like shirts and nightgowns, gets hung on hangers over the tub in the bathroom. In the winter, it just takes an extra day or two to dry. It’s funny, but I think our clothes might just end up being cleaner when I wash them this way than they might have gotten in a washing machine.

One of the things that always interests me is learning languages. I am certainly not proficient in any of the ones I know, but signing up for lessons somewhere online is easy. Some websites cost money, others are free. I would start with the free sites first. You can go to and search through the language sections to find others who might want to learn your language while offering to help you with their native tongue. I belong to Duolingo, which is free, and to Rosetta Stone, which is not free. Our world is smaller now because of the internet. Wouldn’t you like to read a blog by a person who is involved in a hobby you love from another country?

You probably need a 2,000-word vocabulary to get a nice conversation going with somebody. You could make up some imaginary dialogs in your native tongue and then translate them into whatever language you are seeking to learn in the translation section of Google. How do you get there? Type into the Google search bar: “Translate How do I get to the bank? In Spanish.” A Google translate box will appear with your answer. You can continue using the box to get anything you want translated. Then, to double-check yourself, go to and do the same thing again.

The nice thing about ChatGPT is that all your questions are saved for you. You could re-open a conversation and add to it, for instance, if the topic is about woodworking or baking and you thought of a new angle you want to explore. Or you could start as many new conversations as you want.

The one thing you don’t want to do with ChatGPT is to put any of your personal information into the conversations. Just be safe.

I have heard a lot of people who are afraid of AI Artificial Intelligence, but Google uses it all the time. We use it when talking to automated customer service on the telephone. You can even ask ChatGPT for cherry pie recipes. Learn to use it, and you will find it comes in handy for all sorts of things.

Additionally, I have started using Microsoft Designer to illustrate the articles I write. If you have a picture in mind but can’t find what you want on the internet in all the usual places you look for illustrations that don’t require that you spend an arm and a leg for licensing, just use a prompt in Microsoft Designer:

Text Prompt for ChatGPT: Cat reading a book to her kittens cartoon style with pastel colors

Or another picture in a different style

Text Prompt for ChatGPT: Cat reading a book to her kittens in watercolor

The nice thing about using Microsoft Designer is that it is free. More and more websites are being made available all the time. Some of them cost money. Some of them allow you to do a certain number of illustrations at a time. Every time I ask for an illustration at Microsoft Designer, they give me four to choose from. Tweak them, and then you can download them to your computer.

So, learning to illustrate your own blogs and articles this year, I think, might be interesting.

What is one thing you have wanted to do for years and have never gotten around to? Make a list of all the things you think you need in order to make a dream come true for you. Are they art supplies? Does your workroom need to be reorganized? Do you need a certain amount of money to get started? Do you need to learn a new skill? In fact, this is a project you could take to to see some suggestions. If this particular project requires a lot of steps, just take a few and work on them until you are ready for more steps. Break a big project down into manageable steps.

Above all, be kind to yourself. If you find in June that you have not started something you thought you would like to do at the beginning of the year, ask yourself if you are still interested in doing it. Many times, there are hidden levels in the things we want to do. There might be some steps you didn’t think you needed to do.

Above all, listen to the universe. It might not be what you want, but it could be what you need.

For instance, I needed to learn how to draw before I could become a psychic. Who would ever think that was a necessary step, but for me, it was.

Perhaps it is time that you need. Perhaps you think you will need a nice big three-hour chunk of time, and it is rare for you to find that kind of time available to you. People have lives. They go to work. They meet with their friends and want to be available for their families. It isn’t easy to carve big blocks of time away from busy schedules to work on projects. Perhaps you can break that three-hour block of time into half-hour intervals and spread them out over the course of the week. What you can do with 30 minutes is pretty amazing.

When I was working, I would get up an hour or two early to write while the world was still asleep. Find out when you have the most energy and utilize that.

Make your overall goal for 2024 to be one of creativity and happiness. Best of luck, and get this thing done.

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Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon

My Best Chrstmas and "Stay In The Drain"


It was mid-December in the third decade of the twenty-first century. I was at a Toastmasters Table Topics session. Because of my dubious ability to read upside down, I could make out the Topicmaster’s list of questions at the top table. One jumped out at me. “What was your best Christmas ever?” I hoped I’d get that one. I had an answer.

My best Christmas was Christmas 1956 but I didn’t know it at the time. About the eighth of December that year I developed a pain in my stomach which didn’t feel all that serious. . Various stages of discomfort, ranging from relatively mild to severe pain, continued until the end of the month. By this stage a hard lump could be felt in my stomach. All kinds of remedies from the relic of Blessed Martin de Porres to Lourdes water to many folk “cures” were applied. None of them did me any harm. Medical intervention hadn’t been sought. And because of the thinking of the time and the climate in which we lived I don’t blame anyone for that... On Sunday December 30th Doctor Clearkin from Blessington was called. As the December light was fading he examined me. His work illuminated by lamplight as rural electrification was still in the future. . He told my parents that if it was appendicitis then I was “a very strong boy.” He was puzzled and didn’t make a Diagnosis. His best guess was that one of my testicles hadn’t descended and he insisted that I was too ill to be out of bed.

He called the ambulance and on its arrival I wanted to sit in the front but Mick Byrne, the driver, was adamant that I would be parallel with the horizontal in the back. I don’t know what time we arrived at Baltinglass Hospital but the doctor there was equally puzzled.

I was loaded up again and we hit the road for Mercer’s Hospital in Dublin. It was only my second visit to the Capital. The previous May my father brought me to Frawleys in Thomas Street to buy my Confirmation suit. Two years earlier I spent some days in hospital with a knocked-out elbow so I wasn’t all that perturbed by the clinical environment. My details were taken as well as the name of the local postmaster as the post office in Lacken was our nearest phone... I received a penicillin injection every four hours and I still remember the taste of liquid paraffin. Many doctors examined me and all were equally puzzled. . One of them described me as “intelligent” but very few people have agreed with him since.

Whenever I hear the ballad “Sean South from Garryowen” I’m transported back to the radio of Patsy Cavanagh from Craanford County Wexford, who was in the corner of the ward. It was New Year’s Day 1953 and the main news item covered the shooting of Sean South and Fergal O’ Hanlon at Brookeborough, County Fermanagh the night before.

I’m not sure if I turned off the immersion this morning or where I put the car keys but I’m amazed at how many names of my fellow patients I can remember after more than three score years. There was Seamus Osborne also from Craanford, Tony Hand, from Arklow, who was younger than me and whose father was in the army. Pipe smoking Kerryman, Tim Toomey, who was a guard in Enniskerry. When he learned that his father had died he asked me to say a prayer for him. George McCullough, a farmer, from Goresbridge, County Kilkenny who was a seanachai and didn’t know it.

As an eleven year old rus-in-urbe, who had a sheltered childhood, I was mesmerised by the antics of one patient, famous “Midget” boxer, stunt man and aerial acrobat Johnny Caross. He died in the same hospital a few months later.

On that first day of the New Year, my father came to visit me. He was able to tell me that one of the surgeons in Mercers had “his hands blessed by the Pope.” When, not quite out of earshot, he asked a doctor about my condition, he was told. “Well, He’s an unusual case.” ( I was still a mystery to the medical profession.)

I had an operation the next day. They found an appendix abscess which was removed and arrangements were made to remove the appendix some weeks later. The second operation was duly performed and I didn’t ever ascertain how close to death I was. I meant to look for my medical records before Mercers Hospital closed in 1983 but procrastination got in the way.

Oh, at the table topic session I was asked “If you had to cook for eight people on Christmas Day what would you do”. I wasn’t disappointed that I didn’t get the other question. How would I have fitted my prepared answer, to the other question, into two minutes?

So far I have lived through 77 Christmases, all of them good even if some of them resulted in severe hangovers. But the best one was in 1956, because I was alive to see it.

Stay In The Drain.

Christmas just gone was another good one. It was greatly enhanced by a book, titled Stay in the Drain, by Oliver Kelleher, a man of many parts who was born in the parish of Gortletteragh, County Leitrim and has, for many years, been based in Castlebar, County Mayo. Stay in the Drain, of which the inspiration for the title is a story in itself, takes the reader through the life of the author from breaking spade-handles while trying to dig stony ground in rural Leitrim to, at 21 years driving a Rolls Royce through the streets of Mohill. In the 75 chapters (that’s not a typo) with titles as diverse as My Life on the Road, Being a Celebrity in Melbourne didn’t suit me and My Pet Hates in Life. He says that the two things that he reads up on and studies most are cooking and the stock market. If he happens to read this I am asking him to send me the recipe for Leitrim Boxty. I don’t want any advice on investments; I haven’t the head for it. Oliver doesn’t always win either when he is described as “a cute hoor” or when it goes the other way he will be told, “You’re a right bollix.”

One account is not about his days in Leitrim or even in Castlebar but of his time living in London,” “Someone stole my Ferrari from outside my pad one night. The next night they came back and stole my Rolls Royce. It was at that stage that he had enough so he, “ . . .Bailed out to Castlebar.”

The globe-trotter from Leitrim takes us on a world tour of his own business ventures in Costa Braua, Mayo and further afield. He is not afraid to criticise Church and State but always with balance and integrity. And he has a few “What-IF”s about the treatment meted out to Sean Quinn.

Kellegher devotes a complete chapter to “Robots” and predicts the effects that they will have on our lives; “Many family farms and farmers will disappear to be replaced by factory farms or plantations”...”The cashier in your local supermarket will disappear to be replaced by a scanner that will tell you what to do and say ‘Thank you, hope you have a nice day,’ even though they don’t see you or care too much about you.”

I can fully identify with the author about his growing up on a small farm and with his current approach to computers,” My biggest problem was trying to convince people how little I knew about computers. I’m still limited as to how much I can do on a computer or a Smartphone. I know enough to get by. I remember when computers came out , I asked a neighbour if he knew much about computers. ‘I do’ he said ‘ I know enough to keep away from them.”

No matter what stage of life’s journey you’re at or what road you want to take from here there are a few tips to be picked up from the man from Gortletteragh.

I suggest that you start your 2024 reading schedule with Stay in the Drain.

See you in February.

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Medium-Author-Spiritual Teacher


By Ara Parisien

Visitations of Spirit

Visitations of Spirit can happen in so many ways and virtually occur all the time. If we are aware we are able to notice, appreciate and give thanks for the love that abounds.

Visitations in Dreams

Dream visitations occur in dreamstate. They can feel so real because in essence they ARE real. Spirit inserts itself into dreamstate because it is the easiest avenue for them to reach you. The ego consciousness, the aspect of the mind that tends to dismiss or reject, is asleep. Often in dream visitations you know instinctively not to touch your loved one, however, there are times when it does occur and a hug happens, which is glorious! Otherwise, it is an arm’s length dynamic where Spirit speaks with you (often telepathically) or shows you certain things. Upon waking from a dream visitation one often feels euphoric. Oddly enough, for those who say they never remember their dreams, they will always remember a dream visitation. Why? It expresses in your dream at a vastly higher vibration (Spirit is high vibrational energy). It is a totally different frequency than an ordinary dream. A dream visitation will indelibly write itself upon your heart and mind which allows you to recall the ‘dream’ in great vivid detail for the rest of your life. What a gift!

Visitations While Awake

A spirit visitation can take on many forms when one is awake and going about daily tasks. It could be in the form of hearing a favourite song that reminds you of your loved one; it could be finding coins in bizarre places; or hearing someone say something to you that your loved one always said. It can happen in any way.

There is the ‘peripheral clairvoyance’, or what I fondly recall ‘sparkle vision’. If you have ever seen sparkles or flashes of light out of the corner of your eye it is more than likely a form of spirit communication or, as some like to feel, angels saying hello. It can also simply be your own energy as we are not static beings even though we may be sitting in an office. Your energy is constantly vibrating and moving. Sometimes it can build to a point where flashes occur. There are times when I can feel my energy building to a point where I must inform my client not to be startled by a flash of light in the next few moments. In any event, it is important to know, Spirit can–and will, announce their attendance to you in vast and varied ways.

Then there is the ‘classic peripheral clairvoyance’. This is when you see energy moving out of the corner of your eye. It could appear shadow-like or mist-like. Just say hello and thank Spirit for being with you. Given these occurrences are a direct match to your own vibration (as in matching a Spirit’s particular frequency) it somewhat baffles me how people do not see Spirit more often than they do!

Finally, as one of my client’s, Maria, shared with me, there are times when you can feel your loved one close and feel compelled to initiate and carry on a brief conversation. This typically happens when a relationship continues on even when one is in Spirit and one is still here. Believe it or not, because there is no death, relationships DO carry on. It is important to continue the rapport even though communicating with your mother feels different. Maria spoke to her mother and her mother, in Spirit, responded. The relationship is still there. It is the same for everyone. Always remember to speak with your loved one in Spirit. Carry on normal conversations. After all, we don’t wait to speak to our friends only when we want something. We have active and ongoing relationships with those in Spirit and those still here.

How Is This Possible?

Remember. All there is, is Energy. It is the same Energy whether it is in physical form or has withdrawn its individual focus from the physical plane of existence and reverted to non-physical energy. There is nowhere that Energy is not. Energy cannot be destroyed nor is there a separation from itself. No separation means your loved one in Spirit is as close as your next breath and as near as your next heartbeat. It is your focus upon them that they respond to. Spirit is still an active participant in your life. They still share your trials, tribulations and joys and are always inspiring, encouraging and as always, loving you–even still.


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Sifoddling Along


By Marilyn Carnell

New Years 2024

    In the 8th decade of my life, I find myself still planning for the future. My goals are more modest than in the past, but are goals, nevertheless. I long ago gave up on New Year's Resolutions. They were quickly abandoned anyway.

    This year I have only a few objectives. I have put them in outline form for clarity.

I. Follow my advisor’s suggestions to move from my house to an apartment for senior living

    A. Why? Although I have a very nice and comfortable home that is well equipped with the safety features I require, the upkeep and maintenance - mowing, snow removal, housekeepers, grocery and meds delivery, repairs, insurance, pest control, and on and on – are onerous. It will be a relief to write a single check or have an auto payment made.
    B. This will force me to at long last tackle downsizing so that I don’t leave a mess for my family to sort out.
    C. I have been told by several knowledgeable and trustworthy people that moving while I am still active will allow me to make friends and participate in social activities.

II. Finish writing a book in progress about the Civil War in southwest Missouri. The title will be Cowskin Prairie or some version of that. It takes place in 1861-62 when the war was raging in that part of the country.

    A. I have a first draft finished and think this is a possible task. It is an opportunity to tell others about a beloved part of my past and my ties to the Ozark Mountains.
    B. Continue to write for Pencil Stubs. I enjoy sharing stories with others.
C. Continue to work on remaining as healthy as possible.

I know this is brief, but it represents a lot of hard work. I am looking forward to it.

I wish all of you a very happy and prosperous New Year!

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By Thomas F. O'Neill

Another year is overcome-Jan24., and a new one has just begun.

January carries symbolic significance in many spiritual and religious traditions as it marks the beginning of a new year. The spiritual meaning of January often revolves around themes of renewal, new beginnings, and setting intentions for the year ahead. It is a time for reflection, introspection, and spiritual growth.

In various belief systems worldwide, January may be associated with rituals, ceremonies, and practices aimed at letting go of the past, seeking forgiveness, and embracing hope for the future. For example, it is common for individuals to engage in prayer, meditation, or other spiritual activities as a way of aligning themselves with their deeper intentions and aspirations for the coming year.

The symbolism of January often extends to concepts such as rebirth, transformation, and the potential for personal and collective evolution. It is seen as an opportunity to cultivate positive change, deepen one's spiritual connection, and embrace a sense of purpose as the year unfolds.

The spiritual meaning of January can vary widely depending on individual beliefs, traditions, and cultural contexts. Still, it generally represents a time of spiritual significance and an opportunity for inner growth and renewal.

The New Year of 2024 is now upon us, with new hopes and resolutions. It is now out with the old and in with the new; may you be happy the whole year through.

Let this new year be filled not just with warm wishes and new hopes but with joyful hearts.

From my heart to yours, I wish all of you a promising and fulfilling New Year !!!!

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

Our Love Travels Together

Watching animals who are mated, and humans who are interacting, it is obvious to me, that love always abounds.

The smell of baking bread, lovingly lingers all thru the house. The bread does not send love, but the fragrance is love to our senses. The smell as it is baking, the feel as one makes it, and the taste and fulfillment once it hits our taste buds. Even our memory of baking bread stirs our emotions to just LOVE that bread.

Love is energy. The earth and all in it was handcrafted with much thought, every detail, and with much love.

When someone dies and leaves the earthly realm, their love is still here. We have it as part of us, so it stays with us.

My daddy passed in 2015. Going on 8 years. I feel him around, I remember specifics about times we spent together, and when I was very young, things he did. Those memories are with me forever.

Mom passed in 1995, and I still feel her around, with signs, with a knowing, with memories. We are all connected. Our love travels together.

It will be that way forever, whether it be in spirit form, or in physical form. Love is always everywhere, and it always travels with us.
Love, Judith
Oct. 2023

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About New Year's Eve


By Walt Perryman

This morning this is what I am thinking,
About New Year’s Eve if you’re drinking.

I’m going to celebrate this Happy New Years,
And chances are that I will drink a few beers.

But I won’t go anywhere and drink and drive,
Because, next year I would like to still be alive!

Therefore, I do not want to press my luck,
And drink too much and wreck my truck!

I do not want the cops to give me a test to fail.
And I don’t want to wake up laying in jail!

A designated driver or taxi is the safe way to go,
Of course, this is something you already know.

I wish a Happy New Years to every one of you,
But if you drink, I hope you think this way too

©December 31, 2020 Walt Perryman

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In The New Year


By Bud Lemire

What do you expect, in the New Year
More of the things, that you hold dear
Everything, that you love to do
All things, that mean the most to you

Good health, and well being every day
Wishing good weather, will always stay
Spending time, with family and friends
Hoping the good times, never ends

Maybe a trip somewhere, for a weekend of fun
On a beach anywhere, to soak up the sun
Maybe a place, where you've never been to
A New experience, that'll be great for you

Maybe some events, in the place where you dwell
So many things happening, you never can tell
Life will be great, everything will be fine
A visit with family and friends, is a good sign

Everything you do, is a good healing
As long as it leaves you, with a good feeling
If you love to do it, do it for sure
What's good for you, is the best cure

©Dec 14, 2023 Bud Lemire

                       Author Note:

A new year will start, so do your part
Enjoy it to the fullest. Have fun, do what
you love to do. Be with who you love
being with. Make the most out of the year.

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Not The Me

 By Mary E. Adair

I'm definitely not the "Me"
That I always used to be-
Whose waistline when 29 was just 23-
Although 'petite' I was never designed to be-
Who swam naked in the sea
And on its surface would water ski-
Whose thoughts were never ruled by another,
Not Sisters, nor Dad, nor even Mother.
Whose spirit rallied at the chance to travel,
And whose equilibrium would not unravel
If the storms still came drenching the tree tops
But would dance unclad in the pelting raindrops.
Whose skunk-sprayed Coon hound pup leapt to her belly-
And her cougar encounter turned her knees to jelly.
Who slew copperheads that breached the patio-
And helped to train horses for the rodeo,
And in parades rode her mare Sweetheart,
But in the arena she never took part-
And to see her kids playing, her heart would soar
As she quietly watched them from inside the door-
Who mopped herself to bed each night
So her floors would be clean in the morning's light-
Who bedded in black lace in all kinds of weather,
Or often as not just her all together.
And always hummed or sang her song
During her waking hours, no matter how long-
Whose loves were as cherished as life itself,
Who never had to worry about her health-
Whose joy in cooking a special meal
Was equal to offering her prayers to heal-
Who received the messages from dreams,
And shared with the dreamers the hidden themes.
Whose laugh was spontaneous and full of glee-
No, I'm not the me, I used to be.
In many ways perhaps I'm better now
Though I can't find the phrases to explain just how-
It is like a knowing within my soul
That somehow I add up to a calmer whole,
A being that's content to hear, and see,
And knows, somehow, I'm a better me.

©Dec 1, 2023 Mary E. Adair

Pic is one (provided for me by my late friend Big Will)
that I used as my pic in the Dreamtime Room of the website
"Shrine of Hope" when interpreting dreams.


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Taking The Sun in January


By John I. Blair

In Minneapolis, New Year’s Day,
Hundreds turn blue in Excelsior Bay.

Ice castles tower in Montreal
While snowflakes fall.

At Beaver Creek, Vail and Stowe,
Hardy souls ski to the valleys below.

Here in Texas I sit on the deck
Hoping for juncos, sun on my neck.

Winter’s soft in the South.

©2011 John I. Blair

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One Day After Christmas


By Walt Perryman

It’s the day after Christmas and all through the house,
Our dog, Daisy has already woken me and my spouse.

We really had a good Christmas; I can truly say!
We did not have a tree or any gifts to return today.

But Jesus was with us in our home and in our hearts!
To have a true Christmas, it only takes these two parts.

We’ll ask God to stay in our hearts every time we pray.
And ask Him to celebrate forever with us like yesterday.

©Dec 26, 2023 Walt Perryman

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The Elf On The Shelf

By Bud Lemire

I'm The Elf On The Shelf, sent here from The North Pole
To find out if every girl and boy, has a good soul
Santa sent me to check, on this Christmas mission
On the Island Of Misfits, I did a lot of fishing

Now I'm here, to check up on you
Naughty or nice, I'll find out what's true
I helped Santa read the lists, of what you asked for
Let me tell you, that many to read makes quite a chore

Mrs. Claus says it is only fair, to be very sure
That each heart that is receiving, is pure
So here I am, going through each home
Please, don't mistake me for a gnome

The reindeer are almost all ready, for Christmas Eve
When the time comes, Santa will be all set to leave
You know, he's got to be pretty fast
It's the one day a year, he has a blast

Naughty or nice, I'm going find out
I research well, there won't be any doubt
Santa will get the word, from myself
Because I am, The Elf On The Shelf

You better be good, for goodness sake

©Dec 6, 2023 Bud Lemire


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By John I. Blair

December 1957.
America was at peace;
America was at war.
I was in my middle teens,

We were downtown
Walking to the Orpheum
To see Bridge On the River Kwai.

In a parking lot
Where an 1880s mansion
Had been razed, its lilacs
Paved for our convenience,
We glanced up at the sky
With idle curiosity
And saw a tiny moving light
Traverse the inky night.

We all knew what it was
But had not begun to think
How soon our lives would change,

In one year NASA was established.
In two years I was learning Russian.
Seven gave us TELSTAR
And the Tokyo Olympics.
Twelve had Armstrong walking on the moon.

And of that night I can remember
These things only:
The moving light
And the bridge across the Kwai collapsing.

©2006 John I. Blair

NOTE: "Sputnik" was first published by Arlington, Texas Public Library Online and was first place winner, adult category, in their 2006 poetry contest. The theme that year was space exploration.

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By Bud Lemire

In my early life, I heard about sisters that I didn't see
Later in life, Dottie and Jake came to be
Dottie and Jake, would stop in to see our Dad
I got to know, one of my sisters that I had

She had a pleasant voice, and always treated me kind
I wanted to know her better, but that would take some time
Each time she came to visit, I got to know her better
Looking back at those times, I'm so glad that I met her

Something about her eyes, I saw so much beauty there
Her visits were the best, I loved what she would share
I can close my eyes, and hear her voice in my head
In fact, I can even remember words that she said

Dad and I would take trips, down Mangum road
And end up, at Dottie and Jake's abode
I remember a cat, that chased all the mice
Most of all, I remember each visit was really nice

I remember her always saying, “we love you”
The meaning when she said it, always rang true
One thing I knew for sure, my sister Dottie had a really good heart
In my life, no matter where her soul resides, she'll always be a part

©Dec 14, 2023 Bud Lemire

                       Author Note:

Dottie, thank you so much for being a wonderful sister. I know
you are in the spirit world now, and doing much better.
Just like at the end of every visit when you would say, “we love you”
referring to you and Jake. After Jake passed, I remember you having to
catch yourself and say “just remember, I love you.”
I just wanted to write you this poem to let you know just how much you
have touched me with your presence. Thank you for your love.


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If Time Is Like A River


By John I. Blair

If time for me is like a river
Then I think it is a mighty river,
An Orinoco, Amazon,
Or Mississippi, broad and slow,
With shifting channels, sweeping
Bends, peaceful bays.

Because my river’s dark and deep,
Its contents stay a mystery
I only guess by what I feel
Beneath my feet
And tales I hear at night
Before I sleep.

Sometimes for days
I may not see the shores
Or other sails adrift with me;
And where its flow expires,
Where the voyage ends,
I cannot say,

But know that as I travel
I journey on a way
That I was born for,
A way that is as natural for me
As leaping for the salmon,
The whale road for the whale.

©2005 John I. Blair

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When I'm Gone


By Bud Lemire

When I'm gone, you'll miss me
I won't miss you, because with you, I'll be
You may look around, but you won't see
If you search deeper, within is the key

When we've spent a lifetime together
The souls stay close, to what they treasure
In spirit, I'll come around
But, I won't be Earth bound

I am free of my body, and all pains
I fly quite nicely, as my soul remains
It goes on to learn, and experience more
I don't just fly, I grow, and then I soar

There is much more to it, you'll find out
When you pass away, what it's all about
For now, just know I never left your side
My body couldn't go on, it was what died

I see so much more, from where I am
It is like having, a thorough exam
Just know how much I love you, I'm doing great
We'll be reunited again when you pass, but I can wait

©Dec 17, 2023 Bud Lemire

                        Author Note:

Just remember those who have been close to you in life,
are still around you from the afterlife. Even though you
can't see them, and it is not like before, they are there.
Their love for you goes on. They're always trying to
get you to know they are there, but we are not always
in tune enough to see or hear or smell them. Their
love never dies.


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By John I. Blair

When I was a child in Kansas,
From our speeding car
I could see great haystacks
Looming in the prairie dales
Where ranchers made provision
Against harsh winters;
And on their lee sides hungry cattle
Munched deep into the shaggy mounds,
Carving cozy caves from forage.

The gambreled dairy barns
In flattest central Kansas
Were always capped by haymows
Filled to bursting with ripened grass,
Which insulated them
From the chill December air
And kept the cows in milk
Until March meadows greened.

More modern Kansas farmers
Piled foursquare hay bales,
Musty building blocks,
Into agricultural mastabas,
Treasures Joseph’s pharaoh
Might have dreamed of
In the seven years of famine.

Now, in this techno-dominated time,
Blind machinery excretes
Monstrous cylinders of hay
And leaves them scattered
Like tumbled drums
From fallen temples
Of Kansas farming gods
Who are no longer honored.

©2003 John I. Blair

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The Blame

By Bruce Clifford

Standing tall after the fall.
Misguided beliefs in a pre-conditioned hall.
Subzero divides the heroes of fate.
Two worlds collide at the sacred gate.

Leaning to one side after the fight.
Wind and encouragement have us in sight.
Gestures and sarcasms own point view.
Not letting go of ancient attitudes.

There are no winners in this hurtful game.
There won’t be victory for anyone to claim.

Standing tall after the fall.
Tragic consequences discover it all.
Projected dilemmas hide every clue.
Mistaken realizations come from out of the blue.

There are no winners in this hurtful game.
There won’t be victory for anyone to claim.
All that is left is to hand out the blame.

©12/4/2023 Bruce Clifford

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