Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thoughts - December 31, 2016

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”
― Brad Paisley.
I've no doubt many folks have written such a quote as above. I'm not a country music fan and only know Brad P. was born and raised near Wheeling and has done well. I do like the image his words bring forth: I picture one of those daily calendar squares, pen sitting beside it, hand poised above it. Write a good much as you can, I reckon. Things come at us. Other people throw stones or bring gifts. Ultimately, it is about attitude. And a new page each day, yes, but also a story that binds those pages together. It is exciting, a journey, an adventure...a life. - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, December 30, 2016

Thoughts - December 30, 2016

“Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom.
 ― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera.
Working as a geriatric nurse, I found most helpful, and interesting, photographs of patients throughout their lives. Many families would make a collage of pictures and put it on the patients' doors or above their beds. If you have any doubts about the above quote (which is one of the truest things I've ever read!), just ask an older person about 'falling in love' the first time. Or their first job. Or their school days. Once I asked Marie, a 93 y.o. resident of a facility where I was working, about her 'most favorite trip'. Suddenly, her eyes flashed and she smiled a big smile - revealing the beauty and depth of her spirit from decades ago -- "Oh," she said, "that would be Havannah, 1938. What a place -- hotels, dancing, music, romance...." How I wanted to go with her to that spot in time! - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Thoughts - December 29, 2016

In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you. -Mortimer J. Adler, philosopher, educator, and author (28 Dec 1902-2001)
We talk about things that shape us - our families, our successes and failures, the places we've lived, our friends and lovers, health, religion, etc. I heard something just the other day about the mate we choose has a 90% influence on every aspect of our life. (hmmm). I have no doubts my greatest influencer has been books, all kinds of books. They have allowed me to experience those things I would never know otherwise....scientist, traveler, musician, astronaut, African lady detective, jet-setter, in the ashes of Ireland, bullfighter, time traveler...I could go on all day and into the night. Some, of course, got through to my very soul and changed who I am. That is why some people are scared of books and ban certain titles. (Obviously that makes me shudder) What they don't realize is a certain book will speak to a certain person. It is rare for one title to change the world...except for the classics and religious texts. Or encyclopedias. Remember them?! - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Book Review - Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

The young writer brought up some very interesting points about the economic and social situation in America's Rust Belt but very few answers as to how to deal with the enormous problems in the area. Like the author, I'm not sure there are any easy answers. One of the many points I found interesting was in the last chapter, where he acknowledges the enormous amount of help he received through his life from many people, especially the support of his grandparents. I often hear people that consider themselves self-made claim that they never received help from anyone. I suppose it depends on if you think help is only financial.  Branching out from this was the question of how to offer support to a social group that is isolated in poverty with few examples of success as inspiration and few mentors to show the way out of the crippling situation. Vance points out how little he knew about the world how to succeed, even after a stint in the military and four years of college. He also mentions how helpful knowing the right people can be in career and life choices.

The constant message that Vance received as a child was that he and his culture weren't good enough and that the choices of the white working class don't matter. His grandmother, an amazing woman who did her best despite struggling with an alcoholic husband and children with enormous issues,  tried to counteract this idea but was only partly successful. Vance's time in the Marine Corps did the most to change his attitude, although he constantly reinforces that he felt himself lucky to have had the support of his grandparents and I think he is right. Their support, along with the many other people that helped him throughout his life, helped him overcome a childhood of trauma due to an absent father and a mother who never overcame drug addiction.

This is not a book with answers to the problems of the working poor in America, but I think the book gives a fairly accurate portrayal of the complicated attitudes and issues. There are some valid criticisms of the book; some think he blames the poor for their own misfortunes and he does have a pessimistic view of how much the government can help. What stands out to me is the despair of the families and town, the struggles with addiction and hopelessness. At the end of the book things have deteriorated, both in the town and in his mother's personal life. To me, doing something to help has got to be better than standing by and doing nothing. - Leslie Shelor

Thoughts - December 28, 2016

"If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give." George MacDonald.
The gift of a " loving thought." The very simplicity of the idea gives me shivers, especially that someone, Mr. MacDonald, could envision such and write about it so beautifully. Sometimes we may seem flippant about it ("sending good thoughts your way..."), yet the very power of those words can make a difference in a person's outlook. Ponder when someone has sent even a quick email or message or Christmas card once a year...."I am thinking of you. Sending love and hugs." There may be even more of an impact than we realize, when we follow up on that little nudge that urges us or stirs us to act. That's the angel part! It reminds me of a time when one of my mom's friends died Unexpectedly. They found on her kitchen table a month's worth of birthday cards addressed to her friends, with a personal note inside each. I can remember my mom saying at the time, "How like sweet Helen to keep spreading her love, even after her death." - Beth Almond Ford

Thoughts - December 27, 2016

Things don't so much end as disappear. They don't so much begin as turn up. You think there will be a time to say goodbye, but people have often gone before you know about it. And I don't just mean the dying.”
― Rachel Joyce, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.
As I neared the end of this book one night, curled up under a soft blanket and a purring cat, the words above jumped out and gently grabbed me. How many people have slipped away into the mist of memory, elusive and sometimes resistant to pleas and hands reaching out - or, more likely, without us even realizing. Often it is simply a matter of our fluid world. We move on, change jobs, finish school. Yet there are those who are forever imprinted on our minds and hearts. We want one more time to hold their hands, exchange hugs, laugh and converse, ask their forgiveness, tell them how much we love them. Let them know they made a difference in our lives. - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, December 26, 2016

Thoughts - December 26, 2016

“Like most people who are freefalling, I’ve always clung to routine.” 
― Rachel Joyce, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: A Novel.

Have you ever been told you are a "free spirit"? I'm not sure that is the same thing as "freefalling" but they are similar. I remember the first time this description came my way. By a psychiatrist. No, I wasn't seeing him as a patient, but working for him as a nurse. He had come to our little town in the middle of WV, filling in for the regular doctor who was on an extended vacation. The visiting doc was in a horrid accident and I went to sit with him in the ICU. He grabbed my hand and squeezed it. "Don't ever stop being a free spirit, Beth, it is who you are. It will not be an easy life." This was decades ago, before it was a common saying, and I felt both relief that someone of his caliber recognized what I felt so deeply in my soul..and fear that it would be a hard life. I grabbed on to routines as though they were life lines thrown to the drowning. Just a few, but enough to keep me grounded. I share this thought on this rainy Boxing Day after Christmas just because...Maybe someone needs to hear it. Maybe to honor my doctor friend who was paralyzed in the prime of life. Maybe because Spirit, the Spirit, did a whole lot of work to make Christmas happen! - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, December 23, 2016

Thoughts - December 23, 2016

"The here and now is all we have,
and if we play it right it's all we'll need."
Ann Richards

Ah, living in the present. That is difficult for some of us. Memories are sometimes more real than the moment. The future may appear brighter and more exciting. What generally brings me back to the present is the enjoyment of my morning coffee. With the simple act of filling a beautiful bone China mug, sniffing the steam, twirling the cream, taking a sip - I am completely in the moment. There are not many other acts that do this...except maybe playing ping-pong. - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thoughts - December 22, 2016

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, Eleonora.
It was years before I grew up and realized everyone didn't 'day dream' - or at least some not as much as others. For a writer, is the line between dreaming and action simply in the act of putting the story down on paper? What about a scientist who imagines the paths of cells and DNA going one way and another before starting an experiment? Surely musicians are often imagining new tunes in their minds. Or romantics - visualizing the possibilities of relationships. Explorers? Even the practical business person must have dreamed big dreams before taking the first step. But then do they stop their daydreams and put all their energy into making their dreams come true? How much we don't know about how and what others are thinking! - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Thoughts - December 21, 2016

"The world is a looking-glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion."
William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair.

Trite as these words may be to some, I find them to be true. But it's not always a good thing. There are times when we are sad/upset/mad and these are the reflections that come back to further complicate our lives. The one exception, I have found, is when we are truly grieving. Then what seems like 'grace' enters the world and we are surrounded by the love and understanding of others. - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Thoughts - December 20, 2016

“Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years it was a splendid laugh!”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.
I don't think there's anyone out there who doesn't know of the value of laughter - even for healing (so the studies show). But I always loved the part in A Christmas Carol when Dickens goes nuts with laughter. Suddenly, life was filled with light. He truly saw the beauty and connectedness of it all. I once dated a man simply because he made me laugh (not reason enough, but I do appreciate those memories at a time when laughter was much needed). I'm from a family who laughs loud and often (anyone who knows my brother can appreciate this!). So, here's a big Ho Ho Ho to all of you (I think that's how Santa laughs....)! - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, December 19, 2016

Thoughts - December 19, 2016

“Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination” 
― Christina Scalise, Organize Your Life and More.

Ms. Scalise may have this right (okay, she probably has this right!), but as a life-long cluttered person, I've always thought it must be something else, like a sickness? From as long as I can remember, my family called me "Messy Bessy" and I related immediately to Pig Pen in the Charlie Brown comics. It was as if Charles Schwartz actually knew some of us when he invented that character. It was reassuring as a small child to know there were 'others' out there. I have to purposefully keep a "preacher-ready" room (living room) and the guest room doors closed so that I don't mess them up. My name is Beth and I am a clutterer. - Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Thoughts - December 18, 2016

“Raindrops blossom brilliantly in the rainbow, and change to flowers in the sod, but snow comes in full flower direct from the dark, frozen sky.”
― John Muir.
What a beautiful sentence. I was contemplating 'wildness' and 'wilderness' this morning and who better to aid in those thoughts than John Muir. I choose to live where wilderness is but a walk away from my door. I have seen a coyote and bears and baby foxes - and heard the songs of birds and bubbling streams. The forest sends messages about life and living a full existence. I look forward to walking those paths with the flowers of snow lightly showering down from the heavens. In the wilderness one reaches a certain freedom to simply be. Scary or exhilarating? It depends upon the wanderer. - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Thoughts - December 17, 2016

“How different would your world be if you looked in the mirror and saw your best friend looking back at you?” 
― Janet Dunnagan.

Much as I hate to say it, I would treat them much better than I do myself....'let me fix you breakfast' (and the like) would be the first response. I would feel a greater responsibility. I would clean house (at least a bit!) for their arrival. I would smile more (my best friends make me feel light-hearted and full of positive emotions...yes, often giggles...giggles!). We would have good discussions - we would share our love of a favorite book. I would wish for them success and urge them to always follow their aspirations. This reminds me of the third part of what I consider Jesus' great command: Love God,love your neighbors - as you love yourself. Best friends show us how to love ourselves. - Beth Almond ford

Friday, December 16, 2016

Thoughts - December 16, 2016

“He was swimming in a sea of other people’s expectations. Men had drowned in seas like that.”
― Robert Jordan, New Spring.
I think I, like most people, have a love/hate relationship with "expectations." There is an excitement in anticipation (that new job, a date for a play or concert - or in this season of Advent - "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus"...). Yet we live in a world where some folks say, "Expect nothing and you will never be disappointed." And then there are the expectations from others - to provide the best holiday celebration ever, to fulfill your work obligations beyond perfection, to be the best lover/best friend/best child/best teacher/best anything.....It is a tricky balance to do one's best, to let others simply be and to learn to appreciate the unexpected. - Bh Almond Ford

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thoughts - December 15, 2016

“Every life deserves a certain amount of dignity, no matter how poor or damaged the shell that carries it.”
― Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin'
So, what is meant by 'dignity'? I find myself looking up the definition in Mr. Webster's handy book. The first entry is 'worthiness' and I think I'll simply stop with that one. Until proven otherwise (and even if proven otherwise?!), I believe it wise to quit judging and bellyaching about 'others'. This is the time of year when we actually put little barns on our coffee tables and give dignity to a baby who was born in a stable and placed in a feeding trough - yet worthy of the finest of gifts brought by kings. My goodness, what point was being made - and by Whom?! - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Episode 28 - Photographs and Memories

Adopting pound dogs.
Spay and neuter

Farm Dogs: A Comprehensive Breed Guide to 93 Guardians, Herders, Terriers and Other Canine Working Partners by Janet Vorwald Dohner

Reynolds Homestead Victorian Christmas

Mayberry Church Live Nativity, December 16 & 17, 2016

Singles Dinner and Bingo

A Little Sweet...

Cheerful Gift Guide for Knitters from Mason Dixon Knitting

Stacey's Bun Hat by Stacey Thorngren

A Little Unexpected by Elena Nodel

A Little Tart...

Different types of photographs:

Carte de Visite  

Cabinet Cards   


Leslie's photographs for sale at Scraps of American History

Real photo postcards

Beth's eBay ID: hemlockwv

Modern photography

Prom pictures

Christmas photos

A Little Unexpected...

Author Ibby Greer


"There are no bad pictures; that's just how your face looks sometimes." - Abraham Lincoln

"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." - Henri Cartier-Bresson

"Today everything exists to end in a photograph." - Susan Sontag

Download this episode (right click and save)

Thoughts - December 14, 2016

“If you treat people right they will treat you right ... ninety percent of the time.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt.
You do know, folks, that 90% odds are darn good. Chances are we'll run into a cranky person or situation most days. And, truth be told, it's often when I'm the one running late, in a hurry, feeling impatient, have an ache. But lest I be accused of pollyanna tendencies, there are those days when meanness and bad drivers and even evil cross over our paths or those of our friends and family. That is the purpose of community, neighbors, church family, positive work relationships. It is a call to listen to our lives and observe those around us and be ready to reach out a hand - or be ready to take one extended to you. - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Thoughts - December 13, 2016

“The pencil is mightier than the pen.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values.
I am going to assume Mr. Pirsig is referring to erasers here. Or maybe he is talking about the inner child, the one who first grasped that fat pencil and realized these marks on paper mean everything there is to know and learn. As for erasers, or rubbers as my Aussie friends call them, I have a love/hate relationship with them when I am writing. I tell my writing students not to cross out or erase when they are putting their first thoughts down on paper. Let it flow, don't censor, dive right in. I remind them there is a time for editing and erasing, but not in the beginning. Then there are those who proudly complete crossword puzzles in pen. They are my heroes. I erase until there are holes on the page. - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, December 12, 2016

Thoughts - December 12, 2016

“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend.”
― Lao Tzu.
What more could we wish for each other -- health, contentment, and confidence? I don't often think about 'confidence', nor as it being the 'greatest friend', but as I watch people who perform, or doctors and other professionals who are self-assured, or anyone who is passionate about anything and willing to share it, I can see a glow, a confidence, an enthusiasm for life. Most the time confidence comes from hard work, but sometimes it is simply recognizing our own unique gifts, a willingness to share, and a level of Trust. - Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Thoughts - December 11, 2016

"The luck of having talent is not enough; one must also have a talent for luck." -Hector Berlioz, composer (1803-1869).
Ah - this is a topic that has raised many a conversation! If we dismiss the 'hard work = luck' view point right from the start and look at the role 'luck' has played in our lives, I find there are people who seem to attract bad luck or attract good luck or 'have a talent for luck', as this 19th century composer noted. So, my question is, can this talent be cultivated, nurtured; is it a matter of positive thoughts and actions; is it simply grace or blessings? Are there periods in our life when we're more lucky than not? I, for one, have been lucky in family and friends and downright unlucky in love and money. There are many phrases that surround this four letter word (lucky in love, down on one's luck, the luck of the Irish, etc). A 'talent for luck'...a thought worth pondering. Good luck! - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, December 9, 2016

Thoughts - December 9, 2016

“The mind can be trained to relieve itself on paper.”
― Billy Collins.
I love this poet's (Laureate) sense of humor and dry observations of our human condition. This morning's quote reminds me of how I get too busy from October through December and don't have the time to 'relieve my mind' on paper. Stories bubble up and then fizzle out as I drive from place to work. I used to look forward to writing the 'perfect' holiday letter (whatever you think of mother sent out over 500 each year, along with the obligatory photo of us Almond five, and I still have folks tell me how much they miss it). I would sum up the year, throw in some observations about landscape, include a quote, brag on the boy, mention the wonder of the current pet(s), a bit about the workplace. It was a diary - a page per year. I've already received two such letters this year and I feel myself smiling, remembering our friendships. Perhaps it is time to add a page to the journal of life. - Beth Almond Ford

Thoughts - December 8, 2016

"No memory is ever alone, it’s at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations." Louis L'Amour.
I've never quite had the nerve in my memoir writing classes to ask the question, "what is the worst memory you have of Christmas?" I don't always shy away from asking hard questions (some amazing stories come from them), but there is something sacrosanct about the holidays. It seems almost cruel to dig around those deep-in-the-soul memories. It's not that some of us didn't have some rather horrible times (the first holiday after a divorce; my own grandfather died in our house one Christmas morning when I was a youngster....), but we tend to save these stories for the parties, make a joke about them, lubricate our throats with eggnog - saving our fingers for putting down the squeals and smells of the happy times. There are dozens of trails to follow. - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Thoughts - December 7, 2016

To like many people spontaneously and without effort is perhaps the greatest of all sources of personal happiness.”
― Bertrand Russell.
What a fine definition of the "Christmas Spirit"! When that Spirit resides inside one's heart - even for a moment, then a Season, hopefully a lifetime - there is no 'effort' involved in seeing everyone as a Child of that Spirit. Even when we don't go looking for it, there will be those moments during the Season when we are likely to feel it - a love for the community and the folks standing beside and in front of you. It's a touch of magic, divine magic! - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Thoughts - December 6, 2016

“For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain, and courage, Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning - not home but the place through which we must pass if ever we are to reach home at last.”
― Frederick Buechner.
I, for one, am grateful the journey of "Christmas" comes along every year. I never can seem to get it right and all the components together at the same time: a heart, a brain, and courage. But passing through Bethlehem renews the vigor, gives impetus to the sojourn - and provides rest and thoughtful ponderings for the walk toward home. - Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Thoughts - December 4, 2016

“Child, it's a very bad thing for a woman to face the worst that can happen to her, because after she's faced the worst she can't ever really fear anything again. ...Scarlett, always save something to fear— even as you save something to love...”
― Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind.
What would it be like to never fear anything again? At first glance, yes indeedy, it almost seems like a super power. Walk through crocodiles, cross high swinging bridges..all the theatrics. What I do know is if I had no fear, I would be irresponsibly reckless, at least in some ways. We see that behavior in folks who feel they have no reason to live...a self-destructive bent. Fear has its place in our lives, a small dose keeps us watchful and thoughtful and appreciative. - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Thoughts - December 3, 2016

"We do know that no one gets wise enough to really understand the heart of another, though it is the task of our life to try." Louise Erdrich
So often we all say, "I understand how you feel/think/act....", when, in fact, it is almost impossible to truly know. Love is sharing those moments and our willingness to try and understand. Empathy and sympathy are two concepts which need to be visited once in awhile. I must say, the closest I've been able to understand someone is when we write together -- not 'published works', but those deep, heartfelt moments of remembrance. There is a rawness to the stories and tales that emerge around the table, opening up each of our hearts in a way that is scary and wonderful. It has nothing to do with being a "good" writer, but everything to do with a willingness to share one's life. - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, December 2, 2016

Thoughts - December 2, 2016

"Some people become so expert at reading between the lines they don't read the lines." -Margaret Millar, novelist (1915-1994).
I'm not even sure how much I should write or think about this quote, but simply take it at face value. Of course it does remind me to quit weaving a story around everything and be a tad more realistic about the day to day. And to be more trusting that what someone says is what they mean. On the other hand, it does take a certain talent to read between the lines and one certainly doesn't want to be hoodwinked. Politics, romance, business deals..... Maybe it is why we respect the words of children, "out of the mouths of babes." The one reliable true thing! - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thoughts - December 1, 2016

“Here sat Marilla Cuthbert, when she sat at all, slightly distrustful of sunshine, which seemed to her too dancing and irresponsible a thing for a world which was meant to be taken seriously…”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.
Oh, dear Marilla Cuthbert....a character from one of my favorite 'youth' books - a hard-working, serious, Canadian farm woman who takes on the raising of an inquisitive young girl. Aren't you so glad that Anne taught you to see the joy in sunshine? She helped me to see it, too. It is a sparkling day! - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thoughts - November 30, 2016

"None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone." Ralph Waldo Emerson.
One of the guiding principles of my life (what I attempt, anyway) is to "listen to your life." The exciting times, as well as the day to day, are moments full of potential...and grace. What are we living for if not to kindly touch the lives of others, guided by that still, small Voice within? Heaven knows we fail much too often, drowning out that whisper however we can. Usually it is by accident or simply forgetting in our busy lives to pause, ask, and listen. Sometimes it is deliberate, bringing out the full force of vices (greed, intemperance, arrogance.....we all have our favorites). Yet, the Whisper is always there, if we choose to hear it. Always! - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thoughts - November 29, 2016

“Your hand and your mouth agreed many years ago that, as far as chocolate is concerned, there is no need to involve your brain.” Dave Barry.
This would be a good quote to put next to the entrance to Nancy's Candy! After getting the initial chuckle out of me, I thought more about Dave Barry's words. There are a number of things I do where I ask the brain to take a back burner....or, sometimes, it is the heart or the spirit that is pushed away. There are times I focus too much on doing the 'correct' thing and ignore the person or larger picture. This is what ethics is all about, at least for me. Most of us cheer while watching our favorite movies when common sense/understanding/grey overrides the black and white. Balance, with a healthy dose of love. That usually covers it all! - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thoughts - November 28, 2016

“Age is a seasoned trickster. To our parents, we will always be children. Within ourselves, the same yearnings of youth; the same aspirations of adolescence, will last a lifetime. Only to the young - blinded by our grey hair and slowing gait - do we appear old and increasingly beyond the pale.”
― Alex Morritt, Impromptu Scribe.
I wonder about how my little great nieces see all us "old folks." Their eyes get big and their faces quite serious when they watch us. The nieces and nephews, our children, have a harder time accepting we might be growing just a tad frailer and have more limitations. Amongst ourselves, we continue to yearn and aspire as we always have, to dream dreams of doing and being. It is for the young that we write of our own childhood. It is for our children that we reveal our humanity. It is for our peers that we write tales that share our own collected remembrances, so that we can remain forever young in a good way. (A share of mine from a previous year) - Beth Almond Ford

Thoughts - November 27, 2016

“Just the knowledge that a good book is waiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier.”
― Kathleen Norris
Just as a I love the morning routine of coffee, meditative thoughts, and computer time, the hour at the end of the day belongs to a cat in the lap and a "good" read. And by good, I mean a story - one that takes me anywhere, with characters who become as real as friends, filled with suspense, adventure, romance, murder, history, laughter, tears. In these days of techno everything, most authorities agree the hour before sleep should be quiet and a winding down. Watching children curl up with blankets, a favorite stuffed animal, and Grandpa (insert your own image here) reading from their favorite books is no doubt one of the happiest and contented moments imaginable. - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thoughts - November 26, 2016

".....The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”
― Annie Dillard, The Writing Life.
She's not talking about money here, folks, so don't get excited. (though there is that biblical reference about 'the lilies in the field' if you want to follow that train of thought...). No, Ms. Dillard is talking about sharing our thoughts, experiences, ideas. I need to be reminded of this frequently, not because I don't want to share, but because of procrastination ....usually imagining a future with 'more time'. Well, 'more time' is now, today, the hours we have to share of ourselves, spread a little joy, put forth our ideas....and then watch the well fill back up, time and time again. - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, November 25, 2016

Episode 27 - Those Powerful Influences

Reynolds Homestead activities.

Print by Cindy Howe, RagtopDesigns

Herrera Vineyards, Dobson, North Carolina 

A Little Sweet...

Slow TV from Norway for knitting along. 

Frieze Shawl by Lisa Hannes 

Yarn Sheep Brooch byDanielleVGreene 

A Little Tart...

Great books that have been a huge influence on the hosts
Taylor Caldwell
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Science Fiction
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Merlin Series by Mary Stewart
The Madness of a Seduced Woman by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
King James Bible and other versions
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Irving Stone
Jayne Anne Phillips
Roots by Alex Haley
Jane Austen
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Aphrodite by Isabel Allende
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey

A Little Unexpected...

The Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Music Attribution
Reverie (small theme)
by _ghost
featuring Pitx
Drops of H2O ( The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Airtone
Don't Be Scared ft. Christine Autumn by Calling Sister Midnight (c) copyright 2015 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Ft: Klaus Neumaier, Christine Autumn

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thoughts - November 23, 2016

"The trouble with life isn't that there is no answer,
it's that there are so many answers."
Ruth Benedict.

I remember in my youth making "Pros and Cons" lists about many things, trying to weigh every alternative. Which answer is the right one? For many, it was "reading the Cards," praying for a Sign, letting time make the decision. When my son was choosing his college and then law school, we would have long conversations on the telephone into the night. Which answer, what choice....agony! Once during one of those late night conversations with Taylor, I saw a shooting star, a long spiraling meteor falling from the sky. "O.K., son, Vanderbilt it is...this is as good a sign as any." Now I think of my amazing grandchild as a Falling Star, my gift from the Universe! (a share from another year; so excited to be seeing my Stars today!) - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thoughts - November 22, 2016

“I have something that I call my Golden Rule. It goes something like this: 'Do unto others twenty-five percent better than you expect them to do unto you.' … The twenty-five percent is for error.”
― Linus Pauling.
My mother (ever the 4-H'er) was always saying "to make the best better." Obviously Dr. Pauling (winner of two Nobel prizes - Chemistry and Peace), thought the same. As far as I'm concerned, both of those folks were extraordinary and set standards out of reach for most of us. I did say "good-bye, dear" when I hung up on the telemarketer last mother would have asked about her family and if she'd like to come to our church. Dr. Pauling probably would have made sure she was getting all the right nutrients for a well and happy life. How do we go that extra mile, those of us who are not angels, who are trying our best to stay afloat? I try to imagine the other person's journey and what brought our time lines together - be it coincidence or fate. And then I do my best to listen to their stories and understand. My hope is they will do the same. Kindness and empathy, perhaps, are the "better" part! - Beth Almond Ford

Thoughts - November 21, 2016

“Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance. Good-by is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the string that ties past to the future.”
― John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent.
We all have to part from friends and loved ones many times in our lives. Sometimes it is easier than others. When it is death, we delve deep into our faith and beliefs and hang onto the promises of reunions. Other times, it may be a move to another country or states away. Or it might be a matter of marriage or school or the military or other employment. There remains the hope of future meetings. A break-up of hearts can be wrenching. Decades ago, I read most the writings of Steinbeck. The gem above has remained a favorite quote and I often whisper under my breath, "Fare thee well, my friend." At one point, I realized I was saying it for myself as much as for the other person. Such is the sting of goodbyes. (a share from myself, from another year, but I think it's worth reading one more time, perhaps!?) - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thoughts - November 18, 2016

“Never be so focused on what you're looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.”
― Ann Patchett, State of Wonder.
This is a lesson I have learned over and over again. You? One example is when I'm out hiking to a certain 'place' (e.g. up to the top of a mountain or to a special spot) and I run out of energy. Finding myself on a rock, by a creek, deep in the woods, resting - I realize I have found what I needed. Or sometimes I'm reading three different books, none of them quite what I want at the moment...when a sentence will pop out at me, an idea I needed or an encouragement seeked, or simply a well-crafted thought. Prayer, or answer to prayer, can be like that, too. Or men. Or friends. Or work. Or... so many things! - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thoughts - November 17, 2016

"Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, the frogs die not in sport, but in earnest." -Bion of Borysthenes, philosopher (c. 325-250 BCE).
I have no idea where Borysthenes is (or was) located, but I like the way this Bion fellow thinks. I immediately think of words in place of stones. And a wilting of spirit in place of a physical death. We have all seen or experienced it: when our words were like an arrow and pierced another's soul. We may have meant them to be sardonic, a joke, a little jab, a bit of 'lording' it over another - but it went too far. These are occasionally the memories which come out in my memoir writing classes....a big, strong old fellow who led a successful life will reach for the Kleenex box as he recalls a respected family member telling that young boy inside him "if he didn't work harder, he'd be shipped off to the orphanage." One example of many. Be thoughtful, even in sport. - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thoughts - November 16, 2016

"Some say we are responsible for those we love. Others know we are responsible for those who love us. " Nikki Giovanni
Be gentle with your loved ones. Speaking for myself, there are times I take people who love me for granted. I put them too far down on the "to do" list. So often we are busy - with survival, taking care of ourselves, putting out figurative fires, stretching ourselves thin. We neglect our nearest and dearest.....those very souls who pray for us, help us out, who love us unconditionally. These folks are our oldest friends, our family members, someone we befriended a time or two and they took our actions seriously....Nikki Giovanni, poet and teacher and wise person, thank you for this reminder. - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Thoughts - November 15, 2016

“...the past is in us, and not behind us. Things are never over.”
― Tim Winton, The Turning: Stories.
When I read this, I turned around and read it again. I couldn't say it better. I realize there are people who can "put their past behind them", but I am not one of them. The past is in me and has formed who I am today. How does one forget that? Even an ended marriage often lives on in a child. What fine memories of a grandmother's love, the first trip to the ocean or mountains, a young romantic experience. Things are never over. The pearls and the worms and the laughter and the tears wrap themselves around our hearts and come out through our chiseled selves. - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, November 14, 2016

Thoughts - November 14, 2016

I would rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the one who sold it. -Will Rogers, humorist (1879-1935)
As so often happens, one reads Will Rogers' words with a bit of a chuckle and then: 'wham'... more thoughts follow. Ah, would I want to be the one who 'got something over' another person....or the idiot who was 'taken'? Well, neither one, of course! But this does speak to personality types. A bit of the 'swindler', a bit of the 'vulnerable' type. As I plod through life, I see this as a choice. I don't like the risk of being taken advantage of, but in the long run, I'd much rather be trusting. As sister Annie points out, our Mom always said, "You have to believe the best in people" (and she believed they would rise to the top). Yes, on occasion, Mom got disappointed in people, but, thankfully, she was too smart to buy the bridge. - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Thoughts - November 9, 2016

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Of course nobody likes a hypocrite. But the problem is, we're all hypocrites at one little time or another. If that sounds preachy or certainly untrue for you, I apologize for being presumptuous. I remember one of the first times when I found myself in this situation. I was a teenager driving a group of older WCTU (that's Women's Christian Temperance Union) ladies to a meeting in Charleston (WV). They were good-hearted women, fanatical about the evils of alcohol and its place in the downfall of the world. In the hours we were in the car, they kept trying to engage me in their conversations, get my (unwilling) opinion on the matter. It was easier to go along than to argue with four intense 80 year olds. Through the years, I've found myself in similar situations....sometimes I speak up, sometimes I keep the peace. But there is a fine line in there. - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, November 7, 2016

Thoughts - November 7, 2016

"....capture our spirits as we immerse ourselves in meaningful memories that intersect with the joyous anticipation of our hopes and promises. Amen." Benoni Silva-Netto.
Most folks have some dark places in their memories. It is probably helpful at one point or other to examine them and try to understand them. As a lover and student of history, I have come to appreciate something: "The one who is not willing to look back to the past with much appreciation and gratitude will not reach the intended future destination with success." (old Filipino adage). We know both kinds of people - those who remain bitter and discouraged. And those who can honestly be grateful for lessons learned and move on with a lightened spirit and anticipation of the future. - Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thoughts - November 6, 2016

“Lord, where we are wrong, make us willing to change; where we are right, make us easy to live with.”
― Peter Marshall.
Rev. Marshall, who was a chaplain to the US Senate in the late 1940s, must have had his hands full. Folks were returning home after WWII; the atomic bombs were now a reality and all the repercussions of this; the Occupation of Japan and the forgiveness and trust of former enemies needed to move on; the usual bickering of politicians and the quest for power (Harry Truman was President at this time - "the buck stops here" guy). I wish more people liked history - would study it and realize there is nothing new in politics. Nothing. Even the 'media' has been around. - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Thoughts - November 5, 2016

“You will be surprised to find how much that has seemed hopelessly disagreeable possesses either an instructive or an amusing side." from "The Heart of the New Thought" 1902.”
― Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Look for it - the amusing and/or the instructive - in almost every situation. We usually have to put a little time behind us to see the big picture. How do we develop this outlook, a less 'intense' approach to life? First, I think, we need to learn to laugh at ourselves and our foibles. And, with all due respect to others, we need to learn that people are most often doing their best and making choices they deem wise (this is the 'instructive' part more than the amusing....). But most importantly, it is the willingness to zoom in and look for the tiniest of details, the artist's stroke, the piano notes that make up the chord. Here is where the humanity comes through - and, with it, the humor. "Yes, it was a solemn occasion, heavy music, formal clothing, a ceremony of dignity....until Mark dropped his corner of the coffin..." (Okay...can you tell I'm a tad tired this morning?!) - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, November 4, 2016

Thoughts - November 4, 2016

“Of all the things a man may do, sleep probably contributes most to keeping him sane. It puts brackets about each day. If you do something foolish or painful today, you get irritated if somebody mentions it, today. If it happened yesterday, though, you can nod or chuckle, as the case may be. You've crossed through nothingness or dream to another island in Time.” 
― Roger Zelazny, Isle of the Dead.

Such a fine observation: simply a time of sleep helps lessen the irritation andembarrassment and possibly anger (and most certainly the 'foolish' feelings) of the previous day's mistakes. I think we have all experienced this phenomenon. Though, I must say, sometimes it takes me a month's worth of sleeps to get over some of the foolish or painful things I've said or done. And why is this important? Because many of us beat ourselves up over things like this and it interferes with living our lives as kind and helpful neighbors. The current phrase 'get over it' sums it up rather abruptly; I like the idea of 'get a good sleep' and 'things will look better in the morning.' Because they do. - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Thoughts - November 3, 2016

"Life is like arriving late for a movie,
having to figure out what was going on
without bothering everybody with a lot of questions,
and then being unexpectedly called away
before you find out how it ends." Joseph Campbell.
What an apt metaphor for describing this life we attempt to 'lead' while here on planet Earth! Sometimes we feel like the star actors. Other days we are content to blend into the background. Occasionally we build the sets and apply the make-up. There are even times we write the scenes. And there are moments when we feel Directed. - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Thoughts - November 2, 2016

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
Marcel Proust.
It is obvious as we grow older (at least for me) that we shouldn't look for another person to make us happy, but the fact is, they do. And we do. With acts of kindness, by loving someone with total selflessness, looking out for other's welfare, bringing light and laughter into another's life, listening and understanding, forgiveness.....the list goes on. I am so grateful to those people who see the little bloom (sometimes buried under leaves or snow), who reach in and help me blossom. Pass it on. - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Thoughts - November 1, 2016

“I daresay it seems foolish; perhaps all our earthly trials will appear foolish to us after a while; perhaps they seem so now to angels. But we are ourselves, you know, and this is now, not some time to come, a long, long way off. And we are not angels, to be comforted by seeing the ends for which everything is sent.”
― Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughters.
Our trials do not seem the least bit trivial when we are in their midst. Tears in the shower, thoughts of despair, the 'black hole' place. I've been there; we all have, I imagine. But now that I'm (more than) middle-aged, I look back at those times with a bit more clarity. And I have to ask myself, "would I do it again?" Love that person, take that job, move to that location....what would I give up, had I but known? How I treasure the people who came into my life, those who surrounded me in those awful moments - could I imagine a life without knowing their presence? All in all, I look back over my life with smiles, not tears. Perhaps it is the balance of the scales in the end. - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, October 31, 2016

Thoughts - October 31, 2016

“When the Populist congressman "Sockless" Simpson of Medicine Lodge, Kansas, misspelled his hometown while running for office, he said, "I wouldn't give a tinker's durn for a man who can't spell a word more than one way.”
― William Least Heat-Moon, PrairyErth.
This got a chuckle out of me this morning...the twists we can put on anything, eh? I have great respect for spelling and grammar (I am the sort to twinge inwardly every time I hear a grammatical error...thank you, Mom!). Yet, as a teacher of memoir writing, I tell my students to forget all about those things, even to ignore the lines on the page, and let the thoughts flow. There is a time to go back and edit. As I grow older, I've come to accept the balance of life and letting go of some of my rigid thoughts. But....I'm still not sure the misspelling of one's hometown falls under this flexibility - Buckhannon (WV) poses a challenge to many a youngster and the pride of spelling it correctly is right up there with s-u-c-c-e-s-s! - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Thoughts - October 29, 2016

“It’s okay to get lost every once in a while, sometimes getting lost is how we find ourselves.” 
― Robert Tew

Lost and found. Finding one's self. I sometimes thought people used that catch-phrase to excuse some behaviors, to free up some inhibitions. Perhaps we have all used it a time or two. And, truth be known, it is not all that hard to get lost from ourselves. We do it through workaholism, substances, filling our minds with fluff, obsessing, lots of negative ways. And sometimes we just choose to ignore the self, denying it is even worth pursuing. I think that is why we are commanded to do three things - love God, love our neighbor, and love our selves. It gives substance and a reason to our every existence. Whew. - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, October 28, 2016

From Episode 26

"Any path to knowledge is a path to God—or Reality, whichever word one prefers to use." - Arthur C. Clarke
From our Episode 26 - Boobs in Space.

Thoughts - October 28, 2016

"It is also possible to be a pain in the rear about truth, or anything else. I have been helped sometimes by an old yogic saying, 'Truth is good, but it also needs to be helpful, necessary, and kind.'" Stephen Gaskin (in a "Sun" magazine interview).
Do you know what is difficult for me in that statement? The "necessary" part. If it's not 'necessary', I need to think twice....not just jump in and let loose, stirring the pot, strutting my stuff because I (think) I know the 'truth'. Well, the truth of the matter is that an emphasis needs to be placed on the helpful and kind part. This isn't always easy. Many years ago, a man I was engaged to was cheating on me. A close friend didn't tell me. When I asked her later about it, she said, "I'd never seen you so happy; I couldn't be the one to burst that bubble." I'm not sure if that was helpful, necessary, or kind not to reveal the truth, but it was understandable. We struggle with this 'truth' issue, recognizing it is not always clear-cut, even when we "do unto others" what we hope they'd do for us. Be gentle. - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thoughts - October 27, 2016

“You can disagree with another person's opinions. You can disagree with their doctrines. You can't disagree with their experience.”
― Krista Tippett, Speaking of Faith.
I seem to be having quite a few different doctrines thrown my way lately - a religious pamphlet in my PO box, a visit to my home by two women of a certain faith wandering my neighborhood, a magazine article featuring Steve Gaskin (of the Farm, in TN). I read it all - sometimes simply shaking my head, occasionally interested enough to do some follow-up on my own, always fascinated at how everyone is so different! How do we all arrive at such different perspectives? Certainly family tradition, often emotional strings being pulled, and, hopefully, through our own prayer and study and meditation. I come from a Methodist background where John Wesley recognized the importance of "experience" in the mix. I learned early on to respect another's experience, even if I could not accept it as my own. These are the stories of folks' lives. - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thoughts - October 26, 2016

Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature."
Nature has some amazing masterpieces - a fine arts museum of views, statues, music....I see it on my walks - in the vistas, the rolling meadows, the unusual trees and rock formations, the birds and the running water. But in a friend...ah, now there is a masterpiece, indeed. There is the person who has delved into your mind and likes what he/she sees. A cord of familiarity, trust, and mutual understanding connects the two of you. Whether there are a few or many, friends are the extra spice in that favorite piece of gingerbread. - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Thoughts - October 25, 2016

The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. -Thomas Babington Macaulay, author and statesman (25 Oct 1800-1859)
Well, do I dare tackle that quote?! (and without coffee, I might add...where we are staying at the beach has a cafeteria and I will get coffee at 7:30). Surely most of us have a moral compass, a conscience, that keeps us from doing horrific things. But then there are the deviances we just might do if our mothers would never know. Before I dig myself into a hole with talking about some of those, think about what Mr. Macaulay is saying. He was writing a century ago, a time religious fervor was quite strong. Whether "others" would find us out for dipping into the till or beating our spouses, many would believe that God would know. In these modern times of computers and devices and drones and cameras on lamp posts, we are watched in a variety of ways. Our thoughts remain our own, however, and the question may be asked: what would we think if no one would ever know? - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, October 24, 2016

Thoughts - October 24,. 2016

“The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines.”
― Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith.
And friends and music and the arts and comedians and evenings out and books and veering off the path for walks in the woods and on the beaches. And, yes, the snacks, for sure! - Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Thoughts - October 23, 2016

"Flattery has to be pretty thick before it begins to wear thin."
Mardy Grothe.
I don't think there is anyone who is not susceptible to flattery. Many times it simply reinforces what we believe about ourselves - or would like to believe. It buoys us up, makes us feel good, puts a skip in our gait. Deep down, however, most of us recognize when we are being manipulated by flattery. Or, sadly, when we ourselves are doing that manipulation. So, why do we flatter? It is a part of today's society and an integral part of communication (especially in our t.v. shows and the like). It is often simple praise gone too far. Some consider it the "oiling" that gets things done. Flattery is so common that we take it for granted.....until it is applied with a trowel and much too thick! - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Thoughts - October 22, 2016

“Are we being good ancestors?”
― Jonas Salk
Well...we know Dr. Salk certainly left the great legacy of the polio vaccine, but what of us? Are we good ancestors? What do I have of my own kin, those I never knew? Sometimes I get out my Great Grandmother Lyde Armstrong's autograph book from the 1870s and read what her friends wrote about and to her as she started her life after school. Marriage to Reverend Addison Barnes and the start of her family...two children and death at a young age. But she left me my Grandmother, one of the strongest and kindest influences on my life - and many others. In 1909, Grandma became a deaconess who worked at the lumber camps and train stations in West Virginia, bringing hope to the lives of many (especially the thousands of immigrants coming to work in lumber and coal, not knowing English). So what about me? Am I leaving anything that is good? Trees planted, a book with my siblings, a child who makes a big difference in his clients' lives. What else?? It is a question worth answering. - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, October 21, 2016

Thoughts - October 21, 2016

"One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other." -Jane Austen, novelist (1775-1817).
It's hard to imagine that my two favorite things (reading and walking) wouldn't appeal to half the world, but I know they don't. Yin and yang....I love toffee over coconut. I prefer rock n roll over country. Fiction over non-fiction. A cabin rather than a resort. To watch tennis instead of football. My idea of a fine vacation is exploring historic sites....Williamsburg not Dollywood. Quiet Topsail Island rather than busy Myrtle Beach. A week at Chautauqua than spent on a big cruise ship. None are better or worse than the other, but simply how each of us has evolved. Rejoice in the differences and share the experiences! - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thoughts - October 20, 2016

“Let them think what they liked, but I didn't mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank -- but that's not the same thing.”
― Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer and other stories.
Despair in a strong person is not always easily recognizable. We have all known those folks who battle one big wave after another, bobbing up to the surface with a wave. We admire their strength and resiliency. What we don't see are the weights on their feet, that which they keep secret. Be kind, show love, dive in.
A "memory" I wrote last year...a few weeks after my third eye surgery. I honestly don't recall if I was feeling despair myself, worried about a friend, or simply writing in the abstract. This morning those words resonated - not for me nor anyone in particular. Something to do with perseverance ...... good ol' perseverance. - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Thoughts - October 19, 2016

"What we have here is a type of logical fallacy called a false equivalence, a statement where two opposing arguments appear, at first blush, to be logically equivalent when they actually are not." Ben Williams, journalist, Martinsville (VA) Bulletin.
The term "false equivalence" is a new one to me, but the concept, of course, is not. Apples and Oranges, as many would say. A shallow argument is what I usually think. People sling these statements all over the place and folks often don't think them through to the logical conclusion. It worries me. We all sometimes have those "duh, head-slap to me" moments, but it seems to have become an epidemic of lazy thinking. Logic 101. Let's add it to the curriculum.... or, better yet, discourse around the supper table! - Beth Almond Ford