Friday, September 30, 2016

Thoughts - September 29, 2016

This quote, found by Beth, related back to our current podcast episode.
"One of the dreariest spots on life's road is the point of conviction
that nothing will ever again happen to you." Faith Baldwin.
I've known way too many 'old' folks who just kept achieving and living to think this quote is aimed at them. (case in point, Dad wrote his book, "Stories of a WV Country Doctor" when he was 80 - and went on to do book signings, etc). No, I think the dreariest and saddest thing is when this happens to folks at any time in their life - a twisted and deep sadness in their souls (and imaginations). Perhaps we are called to be on the look-out for these people - and make sure things are 'happening' in their lives! (though, to be honest, there are some things that probably wont happen again in my own life.....I could run that mile, fall in love, go back to school, hike through the Appalachian Trail.....but there is a chance I won't. Perhaps as long as we can dream it or watch it unfold in our family and friends' lives, it's still happening. - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Episode 25 - Achieving Your Bucket List

Crooked Road Cafe

41st Annual Meadows of Dan Women's Club Craft Show

Enchanting little bag by our friend Ruby Boyd Asbury, found at the craft show
A Little Sweet...

Dragon Scale Gauntlets by Stephanie Soikkeli

It's all about dragons on Ravelry this week with the hot Dragon scale mitts patterns

A Little Tart...

Achieving your bucket list

Blue Highways Revisited
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die by Peter Boxall


“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” - Michaelanglo

“The question isn't who is going to let me; it's  who is going to stop me.” - Ayn Rand

“If we are growing we are always going to be outside our comfort zone.” - John C. Maxwell

"There are two ways to face the future. One way is with apprehension; the other is with anticipation - Jim Rohn

A Little Unexpected...

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

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
Download this episode (right click and save)

Thoughts - September 28, 2016

“When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.” Chinese Proverb.

I can only imagine how this proverb makes some folks shake their heads....what a frivolous thought! Sister Lois K Almond had it on her bulletin board decades ago and I remember reading it when I was young. Frankly, it probably saved my sanity one scary night back in Vermont. I was working long shifts as a nurse, recently divorced with a nine year old - and had two pennies (so to was actually ten dollars). What that young boy and I bought was a loaf of bread and expensive ice cream...our lily. I actually get tears thinking about it. And, yes, my dear child understood (he was born 'old') and he asked to invite his little neighbor buddy in to share. Which, of course, we did. - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Thoughts - September 27, 2016

"Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place."
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)
This is so true that I'm not even sure what to say about it.... There are times when humor simply shows up. It can be as simple as the antics of a baby animal, a witty friend. Sometimes we have to go searching for it - the writings of authors such as Carl Hiaasen or David Sedaris or Mark Twain; the comedy of Jerry Seinfeld or Steve Martin; satire like the old tv shows "Soap" or "All in the Family" - even 'funniest home videos' or the like. There is a newsletter someone used to send to me - "The Laughing Jesus" (and there is the Laughing Buddha statues, of course) - and my departed friend Ty used to tell me all the time - "We act - God laughs!" - an old Yiddish saying. Gosh, Ty could make me laugh. Surround yourself with friends who make you chuckle - a great and saving thing! - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, September 26, 2016

Thoughts - September 26, 2016

"Books don't take time away from us," she said. "They give it back. In this age of abstraction, of multitasking, of speed for speed's sake, they reintroduce us to the elegance - and the relief! - of real, tick-tock time." From the novel "Home Safe", by Elizabeth Berg.
When I left the nursing profession a number of years ago, I took off my wrist watch. It was a tool to use often, especially when checking vital signs. It was a "freeing" moment. Yet, there are certainly enough clocks around - just here in my immediate surroundings there are clocks on the radio, the oven, the microwave, the iPad, the cell phone. As certain programs come over the radio waves, I know it is time to hop in the shower, head out the door, pour that last cup of coffee. For most of us, time rules our lives. Perhaps that is what makes those rare days of vacation, the abandoning of clocks, so precious. Whether it is reading, gardening, hiking, exploring, walking on the beach, immersion in a hobby or just sitting on the deck, we discover what the author calls elegant time - a time of contented sighs, deep breaths, dreaming and remembering. Ahhhh, relief! - Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Thoughts - September 25, 2016

"Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not." -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784).
Fake it til you make it comes to mind with this quote. There have been times in probably all of our lives when we just weren't fond of someone - for no obvious reason. But we remained kind and watched our manners. Next thing we knew (perhaps years later), a wry fondness develops for the person. Or it may be a family member - "I love you, but I don't like you"....but choosing not to show animosity. Years ago, I chose "kind" as my word, something to aspire, a way of life. It's not easy and I fail miserably at times, but I know it is in my power. - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Thoughts - September 24, 2016

“That's the difference between me and the rest of the world! Happiness isn't good enough for me! I demand euphoria!”
― Bill Watterson, Weirdos From Another Planet: Calvin & Hobbes Series: Book Six: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection.
Well....we all know ecstasy is a powerful moment, so powerful that many (including St Francis of the animals) called it a religious experience. I think some folks fear euphoria or ecstasy because it is a lack of human control. But I think it is a good thing to search it out, be open to the experience, be willing to let loose. Frankly, I think the euphoric moments in our lives can carry us through and propel us onward in the day-to-day. - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, September 23, 2016

Thoughts - September 23, 2016

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
― Ray Bradbury.
I heard something about this being 'banned books week' (a personal irritant of mine....) and Ray Bradbury is always my go-to guy on this subject. But what met me this morning was the quote above and I couldn't resist. We are cups -- and filling ourselves and being filled by all the things of the world (and not of this world, too). I don't always go for the 'sweet stuff' (heck, the Dexter series of books is one of my favorites...and I think dear Dexter has much to say that is true and good). But I do try to avoid the 'mean-stuff' (and, hence, have avoided t.v. news and most radio for many years). When that cup runs over, I hope it's with a tender touch and what emerges is a smile, a thoughtful word, a laugh that does not poke fun. Of course, when I get all 'steamed up' (like a tea pot), who knows what will be spewing out! (there is such a thing as righteous anger....) - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thoughts - September 22, 2016

"There are precious things you can't pack and take with you, like the all-pervasive fragrance of honeysuckle.” 
― Catherine Marshall.

Or the sound of the waves. Or the variations of green in an early summer forest. How about your child's voice saying "I love you." The view from the top of a mountain. Tastes from a favorite cafe. How precious is the gift of memory. But even memory can't conjure up the feel of soft grass between the toes if one has not walked barefoot. - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Thoughts - September 21, 2016

“Now, now my good man, this is no time to be making enemies."
(Voltaire on his deathbed in response to a priest asking him that he renounce Satan.)” 
― Voltaire

I know this quote is probably not funny to some folks, but it got a large chuckle from me. This morning's devotional (in Upper Room journal) was about praying for/loving one's enemies, so I looked up quotes based on the same. Was not expecting this one! I've always had a feeling that God has a sense of humor and loves to see us laugh....and (let's not forget) to love our enemies. - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Thoughts - September 20, 2016

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” 
― Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

Choice, destiny, act like you know what you're doing?! There are times when I feel synchronized - body, soul, and mind....and times when one or the other is simply having to pretend to be connected. Is this just me...or do others feel the same way? Perhaps this is why we need to pick a guiding word (mine is 'Journey' this year) and let it carry us over those times when things are helter-skelter. There are days when I remind myself that life is a journey. Some days are like a slow train chugging up a mountain, while others are a white water rafting trip racing through the canyons. I hang onto my figurative hat and pretend I know exactly where I am going! - Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Thoughts - September 18, 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, author (15 Sep 1890-1976).

Oh, yes, there is something about love that surges to the surface when people let down their masks, become true, and even silly. I wonder why we don't do it more often? Sometimes we don't do it on purpose, don't even realize our clownish actions. Yet there is something sweet, something humble about being a fool. I've heard people say, "He was a fool for God" and I get that. Although there are many examples, I think of the doctor Patch Adams, who does what it takes to bring laughter and lightness to a children's cancer ward. His thoughts are not of his own persona, but rather focused on the patients. If we do let down our walls, it is usually with the young. They laugh and appreciate our antics (usually). The laughter of my great nieces still resonates in my memories of a summer day, as they soaked my brother, their grandfather, with the cold water from our WV creek and he made the appropriate and ridiculous loud noises. The giggles and guffaws of love. - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Thoughts - September 17, 2016

“Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks." Samuel Johnson.
A smile, a wave, someone affirming what I said, the sun sparkling the water in the creek, the kiss of a cat, the greeting of a dog, a crisp apple, a well-written sentence, a photo that delights, a song heard at just the right moment, a check in the mail, a message from a child, discovering an unusual postcard, a 'find' at the consignment shop, contact from a special friend, perfect pie, an answered prayer. Oh, how I love 'unexpected sparks'! - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, September 16, 2016

Thoughts - September 16, 2016

"Would the boy you were be proud of the man you are?" -Laurence J. Peter, educator and author (16 Sep 1919-1990).
It's funny...I really didn't want to use this quote on this foggy, chilly morning. This is the kind of question that irritates me, for some reason. In my memoir writing classes, I try to avoid questions of what I think of as "regret." What's the point? But the quote wouldn't delete and the word of the day site where I found it kept popping up. Dang. Now I am finding myself asking the question of "little Bethie" and if she is proud of me. She wanted me to be Governor! And then an Ambassador. She never envisioned divorce and financial struggles and shrinking in the limelight. What I do think she might smile and nod approval at is the fine man my son has become, the very cool, smart Grand (whom she would love as a best friend at the age of 12 y.o.), my amazing friends, and the love and devotion that remains with my adult siblings. And, I know for a fact, she wouldn't even notice my housekeeping skills, only wonder why I never got a maid! - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thoughts - September 15, 2016

"Champagne was not always regarded as a delightful symbol of celebration. In the seventeenth century champagne was considered a mistake, "the devils wine." And the winemakers of Champagne were not pleased by the presence of bubbles in their wine." The Widow Clicquot, by Tilar J. Jazzed.

I imagine we can all remember a mistake in our lives that turned out to be one of our luckier moments. There are certainly some accidents which changed the world (think penicillin, for one). Some of our favorite foods came about because of mistakes....chocolate chip cookies, Popsicles, cheese puffs and potato chips, corn flakes, even tofu! Being someone who has the knack to get lost in the city, I have discovered places I would never have experienced. I have wandered into the wrong class and met a longtime friend. I bet there are more than a few romances that started by mistake. So..... here's a toast to those things we 'think' we have screwed up in our lives! - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Episode 24 - Southern Revolutionary War History and Collecting Bookseller Labels

About commemoration: 9/11 and more


Beth's Chautauqua postcards
Beth at Chautauqua
Leslie's Chautauqua Press books

Reynolds Homestead Bus Trips

A Little Sweet...

Types of spindles and how handspinning came to be

Pandamonium Hat
A Little Tart...

Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London

E. S. German Sunday School Book Store, Harrisburg, PA

Collecting bookseller's labels

A Little Unexpected...

The Hornet's Nest by Jimmy Carter
Beth's Hillsborough, North Carolina poscards


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

Download this episode (right click and save)

Thoughts - September 14, 2016

"What we've got here is failure to communicate." 'Cool Hand Luke' (1967)

No wonder this quote is one of the most popular movie quotes of all time! I doubt there is a person in the world who doesn't know this personally. Whether it's the man/woman thing, teen-agers, at work, love relationships, neighbors, organizations, pets.....or with one's self. Maybe I'm the only one, but I fail to communicate with myself on more occasions than I should admit. It's that yin-yang of 'should I go or not; 'should I eat here or there'; 'do I want to see him or not'. Frankly, those issues are usually trivial, but it does show a lack of listening to one's self. I tend to like things written down for clarity, referral, and sometimes as a contract. Years ago, I took a number of classes to become a mediator - whose job is to make sure there is not a failure of communication. Simply stating back to someone what they said (or, rather, what I understood them to say) can make all the difference. - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Thoughts - September 13, 2016

"Sorry is a question that begs forgiveness, because the metronome of a good heart won't settle until things are set right and true. Sorry doesn't take things back, but it pushes things forward. It bridges the gap. Sorry is a sacrament. It's an offering. A gift.”
― Craig Silvey, "Jasper Jones"

"....because the metronome of a good heart won't settle until things are set right and true..." What a beautiful phrase! It brings to mind sitting each week (every Wednesday afternoon for 9 years!) on the piano bench with Mrs. Loftis. She was always so patient and kind to me, her most wayward student. Sometimes she would wind up the metronome and we would have a jolly time. A good heart does want to keep things in balance - forgiveness, being sorry....forgiveness, being sorry. It's a lifelong lesson. - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, September 12, 2016

Thoughts - September 12, 2016

"Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind
as a steady purpose -- a point on which
the soul may fix its intellectual eye."
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
As we confront a world with ever increasing 'mental health' concerns, I find this quote provides a very real answer. I know in my own life that 'steady purpose' (a very real goal) is not only important, but imperative. I'm not sure people do this anymore. "get through the day" ....."live for the weekend"....."buy bigger and better whatever"...."too old to start anything new"......"don't rock the boat"...."too busy making a living to make a life"..... Heaven knows we can come up with more. But didn't we all, each and every one of us, have an excitement in our youth -- a point where our souls, our hearts, and our minds all met - a map leading to the why of our lives? - Beth Almond Ford

Thoughts - September 11, 2016

“Good humor may be said to be one of the very best articles of dress one can wear in society.”
― William Makepeace Thackeray, Sketches and Travels, Etc.
I've never been all that concerned about articles of dress. For the 'important occasions', I head to the consignment shops and hope for the best. My parents were the same way (for decades, dad would buy two new suit coats and four new pairs of pants annually....same style, same color - many thanks to Perce Ross and his store on Main Street. Mom would get her annual Pendleton suit there, too). Yet smiles, joy, and good humor were essential, almost mandatory. It took years of living before I realized that grumpiness and bad humor were okay, simply a part of life. But I still look for a person's smile before I notice what they're wearing. - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Thoughts - September 10, 2016

"Smiles and friendly nods are like fabric softeners for the face.”
― Peter Hedges, What's Eating Gilbert Grape.
This is one of those days when I have searched through quotes from Einstein to Jimmy Carter to Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.....and the "right" one didn't jump out at me. And now it's time to clean up and go to work. So I leave you with the thought of smiles and friendly nods and how they can change you...physically, perhaps. Mentally, for sure. Spiritually, no doubt. - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, September 9, 2016

Thoughts - September 9, 2016

"My life is a reading list.” 
― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany.
For those of us who grew up with our noses in books, this quote makes us smile. We know it is true. Books are kin. Books are more than an addiction, they are companions. We can't imagine not being in the "middle of a book" with a stack waiting. As I've sat for hours in waiting rooms these past few years (teeth and eye), I exchanged smiles and sometimes conversations with others holding books or kindles. While patients sighed and complained of waiting so long, we were thankful for reading time that came with no guilt. Our choices in books reveal some things about us, for sure, but for the lifelong readers, sharing our lists with others is a pleasure, not a judgment. What are you reading today?! - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thoughts - September 8, 2016

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?" Satchel Paige.
I sometimes ponder this question when I see the folks in the various stages of Alzheimer's disease. Some have "returned" to moments in their lives when their grandparents are alive. Or when they were dating or raising their children. It is not a memory to them, as it is for us. They may even display the petulant faces of a six year old. Or the coquettish smiles of a teenager. Or the loving eyes of a parent holding their newborn. But even for those of us who know full well how many years have passed, we don't always know how it is to act that age. Times change. It's true, that saying the 70s are the new 50s (or whatever it is). But Mr. Paige is reaching deeper. Are we young enough to still learn, to accept change, to dig ourselves out of ruts, to take risks? - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

About Confusion

A quote from our one year anniversary podcast.

Thoughts - September 7, 2016

"We should tackle reality in a slightly jokey way, otherwise we miss its point." -Lawrence Durrell, novelist, poet, and playwright (1912-1990)
I think I need to post this on my mirror and read it every morning. Even in the midst of sorrow, seriousness, pain -- as well as the joyful - we need to be reminded that life rolls on until life is no more. Until it IS more! - Beth Almond Ford

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Thoughts - September 6, 2016

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
― George Bernard Shaw.
I certainly can recall several of those "non-conversations" in my past! The issue nowadays is trying to remember if the conversation I had in my head (saying all the correct and righteous things...) really took place or not. There is a fine line between knowing when to clamp our lips tightly together or to speak out and resolve an issue. Often, I presume someone 'hears' me through my body language....which is always the largest illusion of all. One of the finest gifts we can give to each other is to listen and to ask questions of another- to gain clarity, not to provoke the person. Communication is an art, requiring participation on both sides. And sometimes with a mediator in between! - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, September 5, 2016

Thoughts - September 5, 2016

“You are the salt of the earth. But remember that salt is useful when in association, but useless in isolation.” 
― Israelmore Ayivor.

I love salt. Especially a bit of sea salt on top of a chocolate covered handmade caramel. Or bringing out the goodness of a farm egg. How about a baked potatoe without it? And the making of home churned ice cream needs kosher salt as a catalyst. The only use I can think of for salt in isolation is to melt ice on slippery steps and walk ways. It is a necessary component in our electrolytes and blood, working together with other minerals to keep organs in balance. I can hear in my head the old- timers of my youth giving the ultimate compliment, "she was the salt of the earth." I never really considered what that meant, but I get it now, the need to share of ourselves. Shake things up. Season our world. - Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Thoughts - September 4, 2016

"Few people know so clearly what they want. Most people can't even think what to hope for when they throw a penny in a fountain." ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams
Once you get past the knee jerk reaction of wishing for riches and romance, what does one hope for when a penny splashes in the wishing well? We have (had!) a big hole along the river path at our beloved camp in Hemlock, WV. Mom called it Three Rock Hole and every time you passed that way, you had to throw in three rocks and got a wish on the third throw. I always joke that I got my first husband that way. But.....when I was there a few weeks ago, I felt that if I was going to wish, I needed to make it what I truly want. I'm still thinking. - Beth Almond Ford

Thoughts - September 3, 2016

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that
sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help."
May Sarton
"...forces patience...." I was thinking about this yesterday, on my way to work, when stuck behind a slow moving vehicle which was descending the mountain at the pace of a turtle. There were too many cars behind and zillions coming at me to relax and enjoy the magnificent views. The Hillsville Labor Day Flea Market and simply the magnitude of tourists to the Blue Ridge Parkway changes the tenor of our nature-filled habitat. The extreme busyness of the next few months keeps many of us "alive" over the quieter winter season. It is then we can move into the 'slow circles of nature.' Now is the time to slip into second gear.....yet still rev those engines! - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, September 2, 2016

Thoughts - September 2, 2016

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
I recently had one of those evenings with friends where laughter came deep and often. It was healthy laughter, not aimed at anyone's expense or tinged with unkindness.....simply funny stuff. I feared I might snort (or worse). The beauty of such moments for me is the suspension of "age." Aches and worries and self-consciousness are thrown to the wind when one is bent over with laughter. I don't really know the secret of recreating such moments. Perhaps it is simply choosing to be around those souls who bring it forth. But what I do know is those moments in our life are precious gifts, times to savor and remember when laughter seems a life-time ago. - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Thoughts - September 1, 2016

"But then again—if one doesn’t forgive someone, doesn’t one, in a sense, lose that person forever?”
― Laura Lippman, I'd Know You Anywhere.
You know what? This is truth. When we refuse to forgive someone, whether out of anger or stubbornness, we need to ask ourselves if we are willing to lose that person forever. Perhaps that answer is occasionally yes. Good riddance. But I have a feeling that is not usually the case. Time puts things in perspective. What made us so angry in the first place may even be more understandable as we grow and change and experience. We may ache to have that person back in our lives. is worth asking the question: do I want to lose this person forever? - Beth Almond Ford