Sunday, July 31, 2016

Thoughts - July 31, 2016

“Get busy living or get busy dying.....there ain't nothing inbetween”
― Stephen King, Different Seasons. ( Shawshenk Redemption)
When you hear this quote, what is your first reaction? First, I always think of one of my favorite movies and the novella on which it was based. And then I ask myself all those questions about living that we tend to ask when we allow ourselves some introspection. Am I appreciating the people around me? Do I breathe deeply, smell the flowers, let myself laugh, help someone, consider spirituality, weep at a beautiful poem, become involved in a cause, let myself feel love, let myself give love, stop in my busy steps to admire the art of the natural world? I mentioned at my Tuesday evening spiritual group the other evening that death and grief effect our perception of life. It simply does. It is our reactions, our curiosity, our willingness to get busy living that, perhaps, should be one of our first thoughts each morning. There ain't much in between! - Beth Almond Ford

Thoughts - July 30, 2016

"You can't just make me different and then leave”
― John Green, Looking for Alaska.
On the other hand.....thank you for a difference you made in my life....I realize there are some who are always on the move in this life. This isn't always about love lost - sometimes it is a teacher, a mentor, a good friend. I have said or thought this many times over the years (and had it said to me). It is sometimes a thought we have when someone dies. What we do is we carry on. Better. Bigger. With more compassion. - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, July 29, 2016

Thoughts - July 29, 2016

"The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.”
― Eudora Welty
Attitude. So how much control do we really have over it? Frankly, I think we have a lot. At least on the long excursions. Sorrow and frustrations and fear are real obstacles - yet kindness, trust, and perseverance are real, too. My Mom loved the word Joy, as well as the living of it. She was quick to tell you her "secret" for finding it: Jesus, Others, Yourself. Always in that order. That's where I can get lost on the excursion and mightily mess it up. I doubt the Spirit sometimes, not only relying too much on myself, but not focusing on others. It sometimes takes the humor and wisdom of authors like Eudora Welty to bring joy back to the trip. - Beth Almond Ford

Thoughts - July 28,. 2016

“He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.”
― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry over the truth of these words. One of the hardest parts of our job at the chocolate factory store is to respond to the many, many, many people who lament the fact they shouldn't be there. I come close to uttering the words, "Please, we don't sell guilt." Actually, what I do tell some of them (jokingly, of course) is to go take a hike on one of our wonderful trails in the national park.....or climb Buffalo Mountain. Live a life of balance, you know?! But there are always a few who angrily purchase their chocolate, muttering the whole time. I sometimes wonder how they handle other "guilty pleasures!" - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Thoughts - July 27. 2016

"If you hear a voice within you saying, 'You are not a painter,' then by all means paint, boy, and that voice will be silenced, but only by working." Vincent Van Gogh.
.....a voice within you.....That negative running commentary we so often have looping around in our heads is a bad and terrible thing.Most of us do silence it by working - but not always with the work (or talent) we deep down feel led to do, but are scared to acknowledge. We busy ourselves with scrubbing the walls and alphabetizing the spices and washing the car....anything to quiet the voice or to acknowledge what that noise is covering. The most effective people are those who work at what they love, what they are called to do. Vincent Van Gogh had his demons, but his paintings continue to delight and intrigue and inspire. (and, I have to say it, cutting off part of one's ear does not make the voice go away...I can only pray Mr. Van Gogh found peace in heaven). - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Thoughts - July 26, 2016

"Time was passing like a hand waving from a train I wanted to be on."
― Jonathan Safran Foer
So true. Oh, so very true. Both the sentiment of time passing in this way...and the absolute beauty of this sentence. I may have even used this quote last year when book club read one of this young man's books. But when I discovered it afresh this morning, I found myself savoring it like a piece of fine Belgium chocolate. I'm an old romantic with a passion for trains, so, yes, this one's for me! - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, July 25, 2016

Thoughts - July 25, 2016

“Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.”
― Anne Tyler
Anyone ever feel this way - or willing to admit it? In this day and age of gender surgeries and the like, this is not what novelist Anne Tyler is talking about, of course. She is describing a person who one day wakes up, shakes his/ her head, and says, "what happened to all my dreams, my goals, my aspirations?" And I imagine this is especially true if someone doesn't even like this 'wrong' person. Maybe we all have a touch of these thoughts, especially if we no longer have hopes and ideas. I think most of us, though, are fairly content with ourselves - even if disappointed we haven't accomplished everything...yet. - Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Thoughts - July 24, 2016

"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all.”
― Guy de Maupassant
I was thinking about a good friend of mine the other day. Sadly, she died of cancer much too young, but her first three decades were abundant and full. That woman could enchant with her conversing skills.Being somewhat shy during those college years, I was in awe of her ability to charm (and win over) everyone from the most dour professors to the person who bagged her groceries. It never was is the case with most of us. So, how important is conversation in this technical era? Does the importance change during various phases of our lives? How do we teach and learn the art of conversing? I would like to be "pleasing with trifles." - Beth Almond Ford

Listen to our latest Quince conversation here.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Thoughts - July 23, 2016

Wild cherry?  Burst of color at the edge of the woods
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
Anais Nin
Think back on your life at a time when you did something that took real courage - leaving home, moving to a new place, taking a challenging job, standing up for others, going off on a 'mission' where you were warned of danger, taking a walk in the woods where bears have been spotted..... What is it that makes us brave sometimes and sitting behind locked doors in a 'safe' cocoon at other times? I think Ms. Nin had it right - life itself requires courage to be fully lived. Have a little faith and step outside your boundaries just a tad.....and I'll try to do the same! - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, July 22, 2016

Thoughts - July 22, 2016

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
― Groucho Marx
Growing up, I listened to political speeches with my parents - and then later with siblings and friends and my own son. We always have discussed and analyzed things said, played devil's advocate and put forth the other opinions. (I imagine that's why we have several darn fine lawyers amongst our offspring....with differing political ideals). Politics is an art - gussied up as economics, history, and all sorts of things. It is always rather fascinating to see what's going to show up on that big canvas! - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thoughts - July 21, 2016

"The things of this world draw us where we need to go.”
― Mary Rose O'Reilley, The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd.
My goodness....I'm so glad to see this. I imagine many of you have felt this "draw" and chided yourself for imagination or tried to ignore it. Or you did follow the 'siren' and then, perhaps, chose not to talk about it. There was a time, not many decades (or centuries) ago, when one was proud and even expected to "receive the call." Most folks think of this in terms of the ministry, but it often referred to other occupations and other life choices. Then there is the question of being drawn to evil (perhaps the 'siren' alluded to above). Personally, I think most of us know the difference. I can count on one hand (maybe two!) the calls and "draws" in my own life. I hope you can, too. - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Thoughts - July 20, 2016

"He had the vague sense of standing on a threshold, the crossing of which would change everything.”
― Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden.
A threshold is also called a limen. I learned that at Tuesday eve spiritual group last night. We discussed the importance of crossing over those lines. How the intensity and magnitude of the 'normal' must be exceeded in order to get results and this crossing of thresholds makes the difference. Our friend Nancy sent us this devotional to ponder and we gave it our best shot. I think it's going to take me awhile to figure this one out! This quote (by a favorite author) just popped up today....a coincidence? I think not!  - Beth Almond Ford

A Moment

Sun cast slanting shadows across the rising mist. - Leslie Shelor

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Thoughts - July 19, 2016

“It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them. ”
― Agatha Christie, An Autobiography
Good ol' Agatha -- she was so right!! Laugh, have fun, be willing to show a bit of your silliness. This is a trait many of us tend to lose as we get older. We come to think of "ridiculous" in a derisive way and reign ourselves in when we have such thoughts. We cluck our tongues and get judgmental, perhaps. Or we (can) realize how much we love the person! - Beth Almond Ford
We talked a good bit about Dame Agatha in Episode 21.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Thoughts - July 18, 2016

"Past and Present I know well; each is a friend and sometimes an enemy to me. But it is the quiet, beckoning Future, an absolute stranger, with whom I have fallen madly in love.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich
Sometimes I have to remind myself that the future is beckoning. Not just the hopes and dreams of the coming year or decade, but this very day is filled with future moments. The buzz phrase of our world today is to "live in the moment" which, granted, is sage advice, but it is the future that excites, that gets us off the couch. We are allowed to harbor expectations. Past and present are anchors, in the good sense, as well as the drag. The future is the excitement of new love, fresh ideas, soaring thoughts, possibilities. -Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Episode 21 - A Passion for Paper

A Little Sweet...

Old Shale Variations by Mary Spanos A lovely collection of the Old Shale lace stitch pattern and one of the stitches used in the hap shawl.

The Delmar Sweater, a 1920s crochet pattern. Gauge 19 stitches = 2 inches, 4 rows = 1 inch. probably a light fingering weight yarn. Pattern originally published in Fleisher's Knitting and Crocheting Manual, 1922.

Leslie's Leaves sweater, made with vintage yarn.

Review of Spin-Off, Summer, 2016
Bucket presented to Henry Ford by Calvin Coolidge, with Thomas Edison and others Postcard

President Coolidge at Plymouth, Vermont Postcard

Plymouth, Vermont, birthplace of President Coolidge postcard

President Coolidge Leaving Rutland, Aug. 3, '23 Postcard

President and Mrs. Coolidge at Plymouth postcard

Download this episode (right click and save)

Thoughts - July 17, 2016

“Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place." Susan Sontag, "Illness as a Metaphor."

Although I am not thinking of anyone in particular, I'm thinking of all of us. I will always be known as "that person who had a detached retina" (insert illness). And that is okay, especially if I am able to talk to and to help someone who also travels to that place. My passport has been stamped. I understand the baggage, how to maneuver through Customs, etc. Life is a journey, indeed, and that includes the occasional trip in the scary places, those spots where they speak a different language. Thank heavens for the Guide(s) who holds our hand. - Beth Almond Ford

We're hoping to have Episode 21 up tonight or tomorrow morning. In the meantime, listen to Episode 20 here if you haven't had a chance!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Thoughts - July 16, 2016

"If you truly want to be respected by people you love, you must prove to them that you can survive without them.”
― Michael Bassey Johnson.
This quote rather stopped me in my tracks this morning....or, rather, caused me to pause while raising the lovely, thin, china coffee cup to my lips. Can I, do I, survive on my own? Does it take this proof? Am I respected by the people I love? Of all the many aspects of love, respect has been in the background or taken for granted, perhaps. Of course we all want to be respected - by co-workers, neighbors, church folks, social friends. But I can't remember the last time I told a loved one how much I respect him/her. Or heard those words myself. I think when I see the word "prove" it raises my hackles just a tad. There are times we are utterly dependent on others. Yet, I get Mr. Johnson's point. I am responsible for myself and my survival. We all are. It's a lesson women have not always experienced. But that's another topic! My Saturday morning, post-Birthday rambling is over.....time to go to work so that Clue-kitty, whom I respect and love, doesn't have to survive on her own! - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, July 15, 2016

Thoughts - July 15, 2016

"The sun was given to all. It does not shine on the few. So, just as nature is indifferent to our station or situation, we need to know that we are all equal. We need to focus on the things that are constant and not place our values on things that can be blown away with the next, great, wind." Carla Jo Masterson
I was thinking 59 was going to be a long, bland year before the abyss of 60, but I celebrated my birthday at The Greenbrier resort yesterday with Taylor and my granddaughter. A first for me, being there. I was feeling guilty after the horrific flooding, but as I chatted with the bowling attendant, the life guard, and our server at dinner, each of them said how grateful they were that guests were now coming again. They shared the devastation and nightmares they and their families had experienced. It made me proud to be a West Virginian. There are many ways to be supportive and listening is one of them. - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thoughts - July 14, 2016

"The soul is healed by being with children.” 
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

And I think this is especially true when it is one's own children, no matter their age. In these times when so many of us live miles and hours apart from our offspring, we feel an odd disconnect that vanishes the moment we lock eyes and give long hugs. I used to worry about my son's relationship with my parents when we whisked his 4 y.o. self away from them and moved to Vermont. Of course it didn't change a thing. As it didn't for me when I left home at 17 y.o for Australia, then to other states and adventures. Even the aunts and uncles and cousins I rarely saw were precious and life affirming when we spent time together. I'm not sure if modern technology has helped these relationships or if it is simply something nurtured or merely pure biology and genetics. But the Russian writer is correct in saying the soul is healed - our very center of being is filled with love. - Beth Almond Ford

We'll be heading into the studio tomorrow evening to record our next episode, so if you haven't listened to Episode 20, here's the link.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Thoughts - July 13, 2016

"He can kill anything for need but he could not even hurt a feeling for pleasure.”
― John Steinbeck, Cannery Row
We all know a few people like this. I'm not sure "kill" is the right word in this day and age (except for deer meat and the like...or a poisonous snake on the front stoop...), but we can picture such a scenerio in our modern times. It is the person who is willing to stand up for justice, take up for the bullied, risk much in the face of danger, yet is gentle in spirit. I admire that kind of courage, especially in one whose nature leans more to kindness and a keen awareness of others' feelings. We find these people in every profession - soldier, lawyer, farmer, factory worker, mechanic, teacher, preacher, carnival ride attendant. Even a few politicians. They are the ones who get the job done while still loving their neighbors. Seek them out, notice, and emulate. We always have more to learn. - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Thoughts - July 11, 2016

"The heart of another is a dark forest, always,
no matter how close it has been to one's own."
Willa Cather.

I happen to love deep, dark forests, so let's just get that out of the way before proceeding(!) Yet there is no denying the hidden animal paths leading to parts unknown, the dangling limb susceptible in a wind, the watcher up high in a tree stand, the slippery stones in the creek, the rattler sunning on a rock, the coyote's stealth, the bear's stench, the rhododendron's thicket maze.....In other words, the heart of another is many things. Even a familiar Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh's spot of heaven) has its facets. - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, July 11, 2016

About Fortitude

“A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful.” - Jacqueline Bisset

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Thoughts - July 10, 2016

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”
― Mary Oliver.
So, are you someone who pays attention? Not necessarily to "details" but, rather, to the people and situations around you? I'm asking myself that question these days. In the past, I would say I was good at noticing things awry. Nurses are trained to notice. Plus, being a bit nosy is occasionally an asset. Not being able to see very well during my eye difficulties made paying attention impossible. At least in a visual way. Pauses and sighs and whimpers in conversation let me know a friend may be hurting. The smell of fear or discouragement was more apparent. The disruption of a neighbor's routine signaled distress. I'm slowly getting back to the proper and endless work of paying the natural world around me, as well as friends and family. And, hopefully, noticing the Good Samaritan's stranger...whomever that might be. - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Thoughts - July 9, 2016

"Grace is the most real thing there is. Grace cannot be explained, but it can be experienced, and it can be experienced in the moment of releasing yourself from the effort of understanding it. Grace is the activity of God that takes place without any human intervention. God's grace is as free as your soul if you let your soul be free." - Joel Goldsmith
As most of you know, I have a strong belief in the Spirit. There have been many who scoff at such medieval thought and many others who feel the theology isn't specific enough. What I have experienced (over and over again) in my life is Grace. One minute I am strolling along the walk of life - living, working, worrying, playing, enjoying, sinning, doing good works,,,whatever. And then I am zapped. I-Thou. Me-Spirit. Hello, you are loved. It has nothing to do with me, except that I recognize it. I say thank you. I continue strolling on that path of life, now buoyed up with love and purpose and hope and patience and joy and peace of mind. That's Grace. That's real. - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, July 8, 2016

Thoughts, July 8, 2016

"People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within."-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, psychiatrist and author (8 Jul 1926-2004)
I recall the first time I read the book "On Death and Dying", by Dr. Kubler-Ross. It was back in the 1970s and basically brought the idea of hospice to the U.S. - an emphasis on death with dignity. Dignity is one of those words, those concepts, that brings an inner glow from within the person who has it....or is given the opportunity to have it. A dignified person has a high level of self-respect because others allow them to realize their self-worth. And if a dignified person is also gracious, it is a powerful glow, indeed. - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Episode 20 _ Fortitude

Word of the Day - Fortitude

Synonyms for fortitude

West Virginia floods of 2016

A Little Sweet...

Quill Shawl, finally completed by Leslie!
New project for Leslie:

Reyna Shawl
Reyna Shawl, pattern by Noora Laivola. Yarn is Unplanned Peacock Studio's Peacock Sock in the colorway Gummi Shark, from the Tailfeathers Club. Leslie also has a lovely skein of yarn from Unplanned Peacock's Rainbow Unicorn of Love Yarn Fundraiser. Buy a skein of yarn and Natasha will donate 10 pairs of socks to a homeless shelter for teens. 

Beth has been working with some interesting postcards, including a miniature postcard with a fascinating tiny British postage stamp. She also worked with Patrick County middle school aged kids with the Reynolds Homestead and the STEM camp. 

A Little Tart...

Fortitude by Hugh Walpole

“A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful.” - Jacqueline Bisset

“Strong people alone know how to organize their suffering so as to bear only the most necessary pain.” - Emile Dorian

A Little Unexpected...

Building a bunny house requires some fortitude

Baby goats are fun.

Beth enjoyed a visit with her cousin and visited the beautiful Rocky Knob picnic area.

Holiday weekend, yard sales, working the shop and candy store.

Your hosts wrap things up and will return in a couple of weeks with a new word.

Download this episode (right click and save)