Who Are We?

Who are we – really?

Sunnyside 1924

Within the time-frame of a half-hour, how difficult would it be for you to sit down and write five things you like about yourself?   How about 10 things? Let’s make it harder – could you name 15? or 20? What about 25? or more?

If you are able to write without hesitation a goodly number of ways you see yourself in a kindly manner, good on ya, mate!   However, the chances are pretty good that most people would not be able to do that. Since we all start out at birth as human beings on a pretty well equal playing field, then – Why?  Why don’t we see ourselves as excellent representatives of what is best in the human race?

A few years ago, a group of 20 women were gathered at my home, willing to do a little experiment for me – and for themselves, as well.   We had come together as strangers in a business venture I had started, and had worked fairly closely with each other for several weeks, and in some cases, several months.

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I asked the group  to list the names of everyone in the room on a piece of paper, writing what they liked about each one, excluding themselves. On a second piece of paper,  I asked them to write down what they thought about themselves.    The results were very surprising.   Although the group found it very easy to write complimentary assets about all their fellow members, every single person there wrote negatives about themselves, with very few positives,  if there were any at all.

Some comments I remember were – “I’m overweight” – “I’m not very outgoing” – “I’m plain looking” – “I don’t smile enough” – “People don’t like me” – “I’ve always been clumsy” – “I’m not a good parent” – “I’m very disorganized” – etc.

I took the negative lists and read aloud to the group what each one thought about herself, followed by what 19 others thought about her in a positive way. Incredibly, every time I read a negative comment someone had written of herself, it was disputed by others in the room, who saw her in an entirely different way.

A few examples I remember: – “I’m too shy. I’m scared of people.” And the room thought: –  “Outgoing… Friendly… Personable… Warm.” Another: ” I’m not very friendly.”   The room:  “A witty conversationalist… Delightful person… Has become a wonderful friend… Good to everyone… Charming and helpful…”  And: “ I feel clumsy and ugly.”   The room’s response:   “Attractive…  Good-looking… Beautiful…  Walks like a model…” And: “I don’t know how to talk to people.” The room:  “Great speaker… Handles meeting so well… Very friendly with newcomers… Explains things really well…”

That’s not all… Some of the other positive attributes others gave about them, surprised them – almost shocked them – because they had never realized others saw them in such an uplifting and favorable way. I then gave them back the page with their own perceptions of self, again read aloud what the rest of the room thought about them, asking them to write down those positives below their own negative perceptions of themselves. It’s not every day that we can have such an uplifting testimony to read whenever were feeling a little down on ourselves. It’s also a wonderful way to cement friendships, when we know we are seen in such a favorable light by others – a truly win-win situation.

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The profit in that little exercise was that people who had come to know each other, were able to influence the way other people perceive themselves. Instead of continuing to be down on themselves, they began to see themselves through different eyes. It gave them confidence to change their self perception, and absolutely made it much easier to be a team player in our endeavor.

Another immense benefit was that they subsequently found it easier  to see positive things in others as well as themselves.

What causes us to think so badly of ourselves that we feel insecure and doubtful and shy, or even self-hating?   I suppose in this stage of our lives, it doesn’t matter how it was started, or what person or persons or circumstances nurtured our negative conceptions of ourselves.   The sad thing is that when we think badly about ourselves, we can sometimes do to the people we love the most, the same things that were done to us, and the cycle continues. Trying to find the causes may be helpful, but it doesn’t matter much in the here-and-now of this day and tomorrow and the day after that.

What does matter is that we recognize that everyone has a need to be cherished for who they are and what they can become, no matter their age or background. In this life, we can choose to ignore others and what they think, or seek out their opinions, and weigh what they say in a positive manner. If someone drops out of sight, we can say “ah, well” and forget them, or we can take the time to send them an email and ask “Are you okay? I’ve missed you.” Or pick up the phone… Or send a “Thinking of you” card in the mail.

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I love people and I particularly love the good vibes I get from them. It is a wonderful thing to see folks cautiously come out from under their shyness, their feelings of inadequacy, or unworthiness, to realize that we all have value, and each one of us has our own place of worth. If, as a friend or acquaintance, we can maintain a nurturing and friendly atmosphere toward others, with good fun and caring at the top of the list, I believe the dividends can be enormous, especially to ourselves. It certainly doesn’t hurt to send a little message to those in your circle of family, friends  and acquaintances, now and then, to let them know you care..

I believe that loving and caring becomes so imprinted on your own psyche that it is even picked up by strangers, making their day a little better place to be as well.   I also believe that our loving and caring needs to start with ourselves.

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QUOTATIONS …

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…On Self

A baby is born with a need to be loved and never outgrows it.  (Frank A Clark)
A man should look for what he is, and not for what he thinks should be. (Albert Einstein)
A man who lives, not by what he loves but what he hates, is a sick man. (Archibald MacLeish)
Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.  (Leonard Cohen) (Geo. W. Crane)
All I need is my brains, my eyes and my personality, for better or for worse. (Wm A Allard)
All of us love applause, and so we should – it means that the listener likes us! (Emanuel Ax
Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul. (Wayne Dyer)
Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them. (Benjamin Franklin)
Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. (Sean O’Casey)
First say to yourself what you would be;  and then do what you have to do. (Epictetus)
For us she is not the iron lady.  She is the kind, dear Mrs. Thatcher. (Alexander Dubcek)
Happiness is a hard thing because it is achieved only by making others happy.  (S Cloete)
I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.  (Churchill)
I like not only to be loved, but also to be told I am loved. (George Eliot)
I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being. (Confucius)
I want you to start a crusade in your life – to dare to be your best.  (William Danforth)
If I respect myself and believe in what I’m doing, no one can touch me. (Fiona Apple)
If I told you about a land of love, friend, would you follow me and come? (Yunus Emre)
If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself. (Benjamin Franklin)
Kindness makes a fellow feel good whether it’s being done to him or by him.  (Frank A Clark)
Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry. (Mark Twain)
My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake. (Aristotle)
O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.  (Robert Burns)
Resolve to be thyself:  and know that he who finds himself, loses his misery. (Matt Arnold)
Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody. (Benjamin Franklin)
Today I see beauty everywhere I do, in every face I see, in every single soul. (Kevyn Aucoin)
Unless we love and are loved, each of us is alone, each of us is deeply lonely. (M. Adler)
You get the best out of others when you get the best out of yourself.  (Harvey S Firestone)

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Awake

Here in the quiet of my room
Here in the morning’s light
Cobwebs swept by my mental broom
Along with the fears of the night.

Here I can see light shafting through
Curtains almost full-drawn
Arise from your bed:  there are things to do
And the time to start is at dawn.

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

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Bosom

I capture this moment
and hold it.
I clasp it tightly,
savoring it.

Pleasure
Peace
Warmth

Even if only for a moment.

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

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Did I Tell You?

And did I ever tell you
how you make me feel alive?
How you make me want to conquer?
how you make me want to strive?

I want to be perfection
when you look upon my face,
I want to be your beauty,
full of gentleness and grace.

I want your eyes upon me
saying “Love you” all the time,
I am so hungry for you,
that I feel it like a crime.

Every day I’m with you
opens up another door —
Every day I love you —
more and more and more and more.

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

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Leonard Cohen – Who Is He?

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Leonard Norman Cohen, Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, novelist, was born September 21, 1934 in Westmount, Quebec.  Honours have been heaped upon him including his induction into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.He has been awarded the Companion Of The Order of Canada (the nation’s highest civilian honour), the Chester MacNaughton Prize for Creative Writing, the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award for Poetry, the Prince of Asurias Award for literature. (For the complete list, check Wikepedia.) His music has been covered by many singers, and used in many films. He has been in films, and has had documentaries created about his work.

I love this man’s music and poetry.  Leonard Cohen instills into his words, a warm, breathing picture of who he is, what he’s experienced, what he’s seen and felt, to create masterpieces of insight and compassion, perhaps depression and despair, but ultimately reflections of life. He makes me feel what he is feeling.  He makes me see what he is seeing.

Here are seven (yes, I like him that much) selections I listen to over and over again, but truthfully, I can listen to anything he sings with great pleasure. And do –

Album 1967 “Songs Of Leonard Cohen”
The Stranger Song  (1967 live on the Julie Felix Show) (upl. absentreferent YouTube)

Album 1969 “Songs From A Room”
Bird On The Wire (Live London 2008) (upl. RElapso1 YouTube)

Album 1984 “Various Positions”
Dance Me To The End Of Love (upl. 1984 LeonardCohenVEVO YouTube)

Hallelujah (2009) (upl. WolfenSteed YouTube)

Album 1988 “I’m Your Man”
Ain’t No Cure For Love (Live London 2009, with spoken preamble, prepared video upl. sabhti)

…to hear more wonderful music from Leonard Cohen click the links below…
Everybody Knows (2008 live in London) (upl. ilnee YouTube)
Everybody Knows

I’m Your Man (live in London 2009) (upl. alcyoneeffect YouTube) (also recites “A Thousand Kisses Deep” as a poem).
I’m Your Man/A Thousand Kisses Deep

PAWS FOR AWHILE…

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Why Some Men Have A Dog, But Not A Wife:

281234d1365251218-i-m-so-excited-can-t-wait-excited_dog565The later you are, the more excited your dog is to see you.

Happy-Dog-Pictures-3Dogs don’t notice if you call them by another dog’s name.

CuteMessyDogNeedsDogCrateDogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.

images-1Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.

Harrisburg-DUI-Lawyer-horse-dogDogs find you amusing when you’re drunk.

duck-hunting-dogs-1Dogs like to go hunting…

h-armstrong-roberts-1920s-1930s-farm-boy-wearing-straw-hat-and-overalls-sitting-on-log-with-spotted-dog-fishing-in-pond…and fishing.

excited-dogIf a dog leaves, it won’t take half of your stuff.

Signing off ….. ej

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Being Thankful

Sometimes we are so caught up in our everyday problems, or out-of-the-ordinary super problems, we can easily forget that there is always someone else out there with worse ones.

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Tight money problems.  Accidents.  Family infighting.  Natural disasters.  The death of a beloved.  The loss of a job.  We look out at this old world and see wars and rumours of wars, country against country, bad government, bad people, and it never seems to end.  Sometimes it seems that every day brings a brand-new crisis, each one worrisome and filled with tension.  It’s a time when it is easy to give in to those old faithful “D’s” – downers, despair, disillusion, disenchantment, depression, distraction, and desperation.  But there’s another “D” – “DON’T!”  Don’t give in, don’t give up, don’t despair.

(Or as Sir Winston Churchill said “Never give in, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in…..”)

Take a moment.  Write it down.  I AM ALIVE. The sun is shining.  The rain is falling,  The sky is blue.  The sky is overcast.  The world is still turning.  The oceans are still there, and the mountains, the valleys, the trees, the birds, the animals, the bees, the butterflies, the bunnies  — and you and me.  (Bunnies are in a special category).

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Whenever things start to get to me, I look around for the things in and around my house that I love, (including my bunny), beautiful plants, books, comfortable chairs, collectible things, lovely old and new furniture and family treasures, food in my freezer and fridge and cupboards, pictures of the people I love, my computer connecting me to friends and family, my car in my driveway, raccoons, groundhogs, cats, bluejays, cardinals, crows, migrating birds in my backyard, green grass, golden sunshine, purple violets, leafy trees, misty rain, shrubs and bushes, a glider on my deck, shelves and shelves of books (did I mention I love reading?), a bed to rest on, slippers for my feet, paintings of beautiful creatures and places on my walls, music or talk on the radio, cds, dvds, or peace and quiet – it’s all good.

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If I’m still a little restless, I grab my purse and head out in my car for somewhere else, thanking God for every living thing I see, and every manmade improvement I see.  I’m glad of the smooth road and the dependable function of my car, the trees and flowers everywhere, cute little dogs walking their masters, kids on bikes, delivery trucks bringing produce and goods to everyone, my cellphone, the postwoman delivering mail, old couples walking hand-in-hand, and a really good cup of coffee at Coffee Culture, Starbucks, Second Cup or Tim Horton’s.

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And even when it’s raining, the sound of raindrops can be enchanting.  A thunderstorm can be electrifying (pardon the pun.)  A Christmas snowfall can be uplifting, and crunchy, squeaky, brisk snow can be fun to walk on.  I won’t go so far as to extol the virtues of ice, but…. on the other hand, when the sun strikes icicles, they can shine like diamonds.

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A moment of quiet reflection remembering the love of my life, feeling the deepest gratitude for God’s gift of children, and their spouses, who also become your children.  Much loved.  Yes, much, much loved.  I feel gratitude for being able to feel love so deeply.

These things are just the tip of the iceberg – they’re little-big things, and when you add them all together, we live, (as Coldplay tells us) “in a beautiful world.”

My blessings outweigh my heartaches by a wide, wide margin, starting with — life.

WHAT IS LIFE?
Life is an Adventure … Dare it
Life is a Beauty … Praise it
Life is a Challenge … Meet it
Life is a Duty … Perform it
Life is a Love … Enjoy it
Life is a Tragedy … Face it
Life is a Struggle … Fight it
Life is a Promise … Fulfill it
Life is a Game … Play it
Life is a Gift … Accept it
Life is a Journey … Complete it
Life is a Mystery … Unfold it
Life is a Goal … Achieve it
Life is an Opportunity … Take it
Life is a Puzzle … Solve it
Life is a Song … Sing it
Life is a Sorrow … Overcome it
Life is a Spirit … Realize it

(anonymous)

Proudly Canadian

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Thomas Ahearn (1855-1938)

(Material provided by Wikipedia, and Bruce Ricketts “Mysteries of Canada”)

Thomas Ahearn, a Canadian inventor and businessman, was born in the Lebreton Flats area of Ottawa on June 24, 1855.

He began work as a telegraph operator (age 15) with the J. R. Booth Company, (volunteering to work for free, so he could learn) later becoming a manager in several early telephone companies in Ottawa, including the Bell Telephone Company (Bell Telegraphone Company) office in Ottawa (1880).

In 1877,  Ahearn created a the first long distance telephone routing from Ottawa to Pembroke, using two cigar boxes, some magnets and wire, utilizing existing telegraph lines. He gave up his cigar-box phone to settle a $16 hotel bill in Ottawa.

In 1881, he founded the firm of Ahearn & Soper, electrical engineering and contracting, with Warren Soper. Later that year, he set up telephone service for Parliament Hill and government offices.

In 1882 Ahearn installed 65 arc street lamps, introducing electric light to Ottawa.  His Ottawa Electric Light Company built a small waterwheel at Chaudière Falls on the Ottawa River to supply power for the street lighting, possibly the first hydraulic generator in Canada.

Ahearn formed Chaudière Electric Light and Power Company in 1887, and later merged it with other companies, creating the Ottawa Electric Company in 1894.  Ahearn & Soper set up thousands of electric lights on the Parliament Buildings for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 (practice continuing to this day around Christmas).

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Ahearn was founder and president of the Ottawa Electric Railway Company, which provided electric streetcar service in the city, and had the first streetcars with electric heaters (a device he patented in 1890 as a “system of warming cars by means of electrically heated water”) In 1891 he introduced the first electric streetcar into Canada at Ottawa, and used the heater for the streetcars in winter.  He also invented a rotating brush sweeper to clear the track of snow.  The company ran as a vast and very successful private operation for over half a century.

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Ahearn invented the electric cooking range in 1892 (an “electric oven”) and used this invention that year to prepare a meal of Saginaw Trout with Potato Croquettes and Sauce Tartare, for his friends and family, which he delivered by streetcar to the Windsor Hotel, causing the Ottawa Journal to say “…everything had been cooked by electricity, the first instance on record….”  In other words, he was the first person in the world to cook with electricity.

He, with William Wylie in September 1893, founded the Ottawa Car Manufacturing Company, which manufactured streetcars.
Streetcar built by the Ottawa Car Company for the Toronto system

(Streetcar built by the Ottawa Car Company for the Toronto system)

In 1899, Ahearn was the first person to drive a small electric automobile in Ottawa.

On June 1906, Ahearn was appointed director and elected president of Ottawa Gas Company.  In 1908 he formed a holding company called the Ottawa Light, Heat and Power Company, Limited, which wholly owned Ottawa Gas Company (which Ahearn and Soper bought) and Ottawa Electric Company.  In this way, the private sector continued to compete with Ottawa Hydro for decades.

In 1912, as well as being vice-president of Wallace Realty Company Limited, and director of Canadian Westinghouse Company Limited, Thomas Ahearn was listed as president of Ottawa Electric Railway Company, Ottawa Electric Company, Ottawa Car Company, Ottawa Gas Company, Ottawa Light, Heat and Power Company and vice-president of Ahearn and Soper Limited.

In 1927, Ahearn, with Prime Minister MacKenzie King and Justice Minister Ernest Lapointe, made the first transatlantic telephone call to Britain.

In 1927 he was placed by Prime Minister MacKenzie King as the first chairman of the Federal District Commission, the predecessor to the National Capital Commission, (five years).  In this capacity, much of Ottawa’s parkway network was developed, as well as the Champlain Bridge across the Ottawa River.  He was named to the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada in 1928.

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(Champlain Bridge over the Ottawa River)

In 1932, Ahearn was appointed chairman of the Broadcasting Committee for the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation.  One of his tasks was to produce a coast-to-coast radio broadcast of the festivities on Parliament Hill.  For this, Ahearn built the 32,000 kilometres of wire needed to connect the country from east to west.  Governor-General Lord Willingdon said that this “had done more to create a national spirit in Canada than any other movement.”

Thomas Ahearn died June 28, 1938, and is interred in Beechwood Cemetery.  There is a street in Ottawa named after him in Britannia, Ottawa.

Family:

Thomas Ahearn’s son Frank would become the owner of the Ottawa Auditorium and the Ottawa Senators hockey team.  His daughter, Lilias, married Harry Southam in 1909, the publisher of the Ottawa Citizen, and part of the Southam newspaper empire.

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REMEDY FOR ALL YOUR ILLS

When the stress of daily living
Takes more than you can be giving,
Leave your papers and your pen,
Leave the family and the den,
Leave the bankbook and the bills,
Here’s a way to cure your ills.

Find a day that’s warm and hazy,
And a stream that’s wide and lazy,
Beneath a tree beside the stream,
Close your eyes, to think and dream.

Thank of happy times gone by
Think of blue and brilliant sky,
Think of laughter and of love,
Think of twinkling stars above,
Stretch and yawn, remembering
Leaves in fall and flowers in spring.
Think of lightning and of rain,
Think of joy that’s close to pain,
Think of love’s first trembling kiss,
And a smiling, bright-eyed miss,
Remember triumphs, ecstacies,
Surrender to the soothing breeze —

Let your heart relax, and then
Lift lightened burdens up again.

© E J Finn (Collie)

NECESSITIES OF LIFE

Give me a day and a road and a song!

A day with a scrubbed and shiny face
washed by sweet-scented rain,
dried by fluffy towels of wind
with hot little sunbeams
dancing all around,
and cool wisps of breeze drifting by.

A lazy, wandering, winding road
that stops to see a field of buttercups,
and walks beside a happy stream,
races with rabbits down a hill,
then lies and rests beneath a sheltered bower.

A song begun by crickets in the grass,
with harmony provided by the birds,
a fluting solo whistled by the wind,
and echoed by the rolling vales and hills,
with thunderous climax by the waterfall.

A day that ends with moonlit road
beneath a starry sky,
While Mother Nature cradles all
and sings her lullaby.

© E J Finn (Collie)

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Josh Groban

Joshua Winslow “Josh” Groban, born February 27, 1981, (Los Angles, CA) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, actor, and record producer.  His first four albums have been certified multi-platinum, and in 2007 he was charted as the number-one best selling artist in the United States, with over 21 million records in the nation.  He has a brother, Chris, who shares the same birthday, four years later.  In the tradition of being American (or  Canadian), Josh’s roots are varied:  Russian/Polish on his father’s side, Nowegian/German/English on his mother’s side.  I think this is a fitting song for today’s post.

Josh GrobanHere is a video of Josh Groban’s song”Thankful” (h/t to Formula4Change on YouTube)

 

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Somebody Said It…..

(A lot of blessings and gratitudes and thankfulness – but stick with me, it’s really worth pondering……..)

All that we behold is full of blessings.  (William Wordsworth)

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. (John F Kennedy)

Delight in the little things.  (Rudyard Kipling)

Do you consider yourself a blessing or just another person? (Jonathan Anthony Burkett)

Fall seven times, stand up eight.  (Japanese Proverb)

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  (William Arthur Ward)

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say “thank you?” (William Arthur Ward)

Got no check books, got no banks.  Still I’d like to express my thanks – I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.  (Irving Berlin)

Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal.  It’s a way to live.  (Jacqueline Winspear)

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity:  it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all (William Faulkner)

Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.  (Kak Sri)

Gratitude is an opener of locked-up blessings.  (Marianne Williamson)

Gratitude is medicine for a heart devastated by tragedy.  If you can only be thankful for the blue sky, then do so.  (Richelle E Goodrich)

Gratitude is the best attitude.   (author unknown)

Gratitude is the memory of the heart.  (Jean Baptiste Massieu)

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.  (Aesop)

Happiness is itself a kind of gratitude.  (Joseph Wood Krutch)

Here are the two best prayers I know:  “Help me, help me, help me” and “Thank you, thank you thank you.”  (Anne Lamott)

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it.  I want to have lived the width of it as well. (Diane Ackerman)

I feel a very unusual sensation – if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.  (Benjamin Disraeli)

I still miss those I loved who are no longer with me but I find I am grateful for having loved them.  The gratitude has finally conquered the loss.  (Rita Mae Brown)

I was angry because I had no shoes, but then I met a man who had no feet.  (Author unknown)

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.  (Meister Eckhart)

If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.  (Robert Quillen)

If you have lived, take thankfully the past.  (John Dryden)

If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness.  (Gerald Good)

It is impossible to be negative while we are giving thanks.  (Donald Curtis)

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die;  so, let us all be thankful.  (Buddha)

No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night.  (Elie Wiesel)

Rest and be thankful.  (William Wordsworth)

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.  (G. B. Stern)

Take as a gift whatever the day brings forth… (Horace)

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.  (W. J. Cameron)

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.  (William James)

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.  (Eric Hoffer)

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.  (H. U. Westermayer)

The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes.   It has enough lush forests, flowered fields and sandy beaches.  It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day.  What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it.  (Michael Josephson)

The world is full of such wondrous things;  we should all be as happy as kings.  (author unknown)

This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.  (Elizabeth I Tudor)

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  (Thornton Wilder)

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.  (Fredrick Koeing)

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.  (Willie Nelson)

When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time.  Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?  (G. K. Chesterton)

You can also look at your body and think about how the blood flows and the fact that your body is in constant renewal.  It is a miracle of creation happening within you every second of the day.  This is something to be thankful for.  (Celso Cukierkorn)

You say grace before meals.  All right.  But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.  (G. K. Chesterton)

Signing off …. ej

Not Everyone Has Email…

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When I purchased my first computer, it became a very useful writing tool for me. I could type stories and letters and correct them onscreen, instead of using an eraser or a redo. The computer thus eliminated a lot of that under-my-breath cussing that previously helped me through the process. My friends and family still received printed mail from me on a regular basis, as did newspaper and magazine editors, manufacturers and utility companies ….. etc.  The only difference from “B.C”. to “A.C.” was that “before” I used a typewriter and “after” I used the computer with a printer to compose my missives.  I still had to purchase stamps and mail the letters.

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Then I discovered the joys of the internet, and fell in love with Mr. Email, thus eliminating the need for stamps and trips to the post office. Updates and bulletins, new products and improved products came directly to me by Email.  Instructions and helpful hints.  Special deals. How wonderful to be able to sound off to those same newspaper and magazine editors, manufacturers, and utility companies with a speedy Email I had just composed to show my praise, my query, or my indignation.  Email became my closest friend, almost overnight, and to this day I still love it.

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I quickly took advantage of this time-saver, by making a list of my family, friends, clients, and business acquaintances who had computers too.  I started sending and receiving Emails on a daily basis, enjoying every minute of it.  I began to feel some pity, then annoyance, increasing impatience ultimately frustration with those who said they weren’t “connected”, as I was.  After all, I reasoned, if I could move forward with a computer and join the internet world, why couldn’t they?

My family and friends who weren’t on my list began to whine about never hearing from me, and my brutal reply was “Get a computer!  Get on the internet!  Who needs to waste time with “snail mail”, when we can connect instantly with Mr. Email?”  In any case, by now I had a whole new family of people like me – Connected People!  People on the Web!  New friends!  Those who had computers, but were not internet-connected, were just some anachronistic strangers.  “I’ll write to you by Email, if you ever get connected!”  I paid no attention to their plaintive pleas of “I love to get your letters!  I read them over and over!”.

Gradually I noticed that my paper mail had dwindled to mostly unwanted junk and bills. (also unwanted).  Only at Christmas did I receive correspondence from family and long-time friends.  However, now they just dropped a line or two, hoping I was fine, maybe enclosing a picture of the kids….. I wondered – “Where have all the letters gone?  I don’t know what’s happening with anyone anymore.”  How are my nephews and nieces getting along in school, in hockey, in art, in music?  Where did everyone spend their vacations, and did they have a good time?  who was moving where?  who got married?  who got divorced?  what are my childhood chums doing?  Even the quantity of my Christmas card receipts were dwindling, because i had discovered the joy of sending E-cards online to my connected family and friends….. soon I would be getting no mail at all. No news at all.  Then I thought “Hey! Maybe friends and family will phone me instead!”. Unfortunately, by then I had signed up for that modern miracle of telephone convenience “Voice Mail”.  I should have guessed…most people didn’t feel like leaving long newsy messages, if they left any message at all!

So I’ve made a mid-year resolution. I will send at least ONE letter a month to someone, somewhere and sometimes even in my own handwriting.  That guarantees that at least once a month I will have to go out into the real world and post a letter to help keep the Pony Express Spirit alive.  Revenue will still be going to the federal government and the paper and pen companies.  I will be able to test my handwriting to see if I can still do it.

It also guarantees that at least once a month I will again plug into my past and keep it in my present, and who knows?  Maybe one by one those reply letters I receive will say – “Oh, by the way – we just got high-speed internet, and here’s my Email addy — it’s so much easier and faster to keep in touch, isn’t it?”  And I can cross them off the snail mail list, and turn them over to Mr. Email’s loving care.

One thing I have noticed, though – now that I have Skype – I have to put on my makeup more often, and dress up a little for the camera.  Does that mean that Email is on its way out?

Language

You keep me here
   restrained,
      alone.
You say I cannot communicate.

But I can.

The day you hurt me
   to the core
Was the day I stopped
   evermore
Speaking your language.
I cannot hear it:
So I cannot speak it.
You cannot hurt me anymore.

I have created a language of my own.

You can’t learn it.
Because I won’t teach it.

Let your lips move,
Gesture all you want!

I keep on smiling,
And talking to myself.

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

(This poem won some kind of a poetry award last year.)

Amelia Curran

Referencing Wikipedia, Amelia is a Canadian singer-songwriter, born in St. John’s, NL, currently living in Halifax NS.  The National Post describes her music as a bit like Leonard Cohen being channeled in a dusty saloon by Patsy Cline.” Her genre is categorized as Indie Rock, Folk Rock, Alternative Country. She began her career in 2000, and released her first album then, with four more following.  Her 2006 release “War Brides” was nominated for two East Coast Music Awards, for Folk Recording of the Year and Female Solo Recording Of The Year.  Her 2009 album “Hunter, Hunter” earned her four nominations at the 2010 East Coast Music Awards for Female Solo Recording Of The Year, FACTOR Recording Of The Year, SOCAN Songwriter Of The Year and Folk Recording Of The Year.  In 2010 she also won a Juno Award in Roots and Traditional Album Of The Year: Solo, and the first prize in the Folk category of the prestigious 15th Annual USA Songwriting Competition.  If you’d like to visit her site: Amelia Curran Website

Her albums:  “Barricade” (2000) – “Trip Down Little Road” (2001) – “Lullabies For Barflies” (2002) – “War Brides” (2006) – “Hunter, Hunter” (2009) – “Spectators” (2012)

Her are some of Amelia’s creations on YouTube:

The Mistress (Hunter, Hunter) (live) (upl.jonesandcompany)

Hands On A Grain Of Sand (Hunter, Hunter) (live recorded aboard the Music Fog bus in Memphis during Folk Alliance 2010) (upl MusicFog)

Scattered And Small (War Brides) (upl. Roomtone Productions)

The Dozens (Hunter, Hunter) (upl.victttttory)

“QUOTATIONS”

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IN FIVE WORDS OR LESS…..

Action is Character. –  (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Adventure is just bad planning. –  (Roald Amundsen)
Beware the hobby that eats. –  (Benjamin Franklin)
Dogs are my favorite people.  – (Richard Dean Anderson)
Don’t fix what’s not broken. (Dr. Robert Atkins)
Everyone is beautiful to someone. (Kevyn Aucoin)
Failure is impossible. (Susan B Anthony)
God does not play dice. – (Albert Einstein)
Hasten slowly.(Caesar Augustus)
His ignorance is encyclopedic. – (Abba Eban)
I am two with nature. – (Woody Allen)
I can hypnotize rabbits.(Elena Anaya)
I think therefore I am.(Rene Descartes)
I was adored once too.(William Shakespeare)
I’m happily single.(Paula Abdul)
Information is not knowledge.(Albert Einstein)
Live long and prosper.(Deverout)
Love is a great beautifier. (Louisa May Alcott)
Man proposes, woman forecloses. – (Minna Antrim)
Men must know their limitations.(Clint Eastwood)
Mine is better than ours. (Benjamin Franklin)
Nobody ever died of laughter.(Max Beerbohm)
Time wounds all heels.(Jane Sherwood Ace)
Trust, but verify.(President Ronald Reagan)
Vote early and vote often.(Al Capone)
When in doubt, don’t.(Benjamin Franklin)

Paws for Awhile

When it’s sleepytime……

cats can sleep anywhere, anytime, anyhow, anyway – maybe that’s why they have nine lives?  Relaxation is everything.

Dreaming of Catnip Upside-down-cake…

I just need a blanket, please…

Maid service will put fresh towels in the bathrooms in a little while….

Thanksgiving dinner was just too much!

I like a bed with lots of leg room…

Will I watch one more movie, or get under the covers?

Pull up a stool and join me…

Chesterfield?  Oh… I thought you said it was a Resterfield….

Feeling just a little hung over…

Don’t ask.  I just got stuck.

I’ll finish that letter after my break….

Nobody gets my stuff…..

Signing off….. ej

The Gift Of The Blarney

According to Wikipedia, the Blarney Stone (“Cloch na Blarnan”) is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, Blarney, about 5 miles from Cork, Ireland.  Legend has it that kissing the stone endows the kisser with “the gift of the gab” (great eloquence or skill at flattery).  The word “blarney” itself has come to mean “clever, flattering, or coaxing talk.”

Legends and Stories

Cormac Laidir McCarthy’s face on wall – (Tomasz Bukowski)

Cormac Laidir McCarthy, the builder of Blarney Castle, being involved in a lawsuit, appealed to the goddess Cliodhna for her assistance.  She told McCarthy to kiss the first stone he found in the morning on his way to court, and he did so, with the result that he pleaded his case with great eloquence and won.  Thus the Blarney Stone is said to impart “The ability to deceive without offending.”  McCarthy then incorporated it into the parapet of the castle.

The Stone of Destiny, Stone of Scone (Liath Fàil)

It has also been supposed that the stone had previously been in Ireland, was taken to Scotland, then returned to Ireland in 1314.  It has been suggested that the stone was presented to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in recognition of his support in the Battle of Bannockburn.  This legend holds that this was a piece of the Stone of Scone and was installed at McCarthy’s castle of Blarney.  (However, this legend supposes the stone was removed from Scotland 18 years before Bannockburn.) Continue reading

Music Or Books?

Just Askin’

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A question I’ve often asked of people is “If you had to choose between music and books, what would you choose?”  For me, that is not an easy question to answer.  I eat words and drink music, and I crave both.

If you were on an island, with wild beasts and wild people all around you, would music appeal to them, or the sound of the human voice speaking? Continue reading

Welcome To My Back Yard

6937192-green-leaves-wallpaper-hdMy office looks out onto the back deck of my home, where I can turn the slatted blinds and see into my tangled backyard. Tangled because there are things growing there that I did not plant, and yet would not destroy. My yard has fences all around and trees that had to be cut down because of disease. One was a poplar and one was a birch, and when they were gone, I really missed hearing the wind constantly singing through the leaves, watching migrating birds landing for a rest, seeing filtered sunlight through the leaves, and feeling the cool oasis of sheltering branches. It was a long, hot, sad summer without those beautiful trees.

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The following spring, I noticed little saplings growing around the fence lines and instead of cutting them out, I left them, curious to see what was growing there. Today, at the eastern end of my deck I have a beautiful, strapping, strong big-leafed young maple tree shading my deck, with its fingertips starting to brush my bedroom window in the night breezes. I don’t mind the gentle “tap, tap” – it’s my connection to my maple tree.  I still have my beloved lilac tree, which every year gives me sweet fragrance. Now, I also have two wild cherry trees (birds love them), one choke cherry tree (love it too), two small maples, a couple of aspens, and several small leafy trees I’ll have to identify one of these days.The guard the perimeter of the fences, making a moving picture of lush green leaves whenever there is a breeze. They are filled with birds, their nests, their song.

Continue reading