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

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Thoughts - October 18, 2016

"When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." -Abraham Joshua Heschel, theology professor (1907-1972).
Affectionate, loving, benevolent, gentle, generous, sympathetic.....these are words that mean more to me as I grow older. I look for those traits in others as I attempt to make them my own. There is nothing wrong with being "clever" but I've surrounded myself with smart, quick-witted, ingenious people most my life and occasionally they have disappointed me by being too crafty, sharp, and cunning. As with most things, there is a balance. But I'm not sure one can be too kind. Not ultimately, at least! - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, October 17, 2016

Episode 26 - Boobs in Space

Pancake Days in Meadows of Dan

Reynolds Homestead Activities

A Little Sweet...

Alpaca Spinners WPI Gauge
Great little handspinner's tool by GirlOntheRocks.

Mermaid Tail Blanket
Popular on Ravelry: Mermaid tail blankets for children and adults.

Angora single plied with merino single handspun yarn
Not much knitting for Leslie, but she has been spinning angora and plying it with merino.

A Little Tart...

Black Book Detective Magazine
A discussion of pulp magazines from the early 1900s, including the writers and the wide range of subjects covered by the cheap and popular issues. About John C. Campbell and his influence on the development of science fiction and on young authors that became the giants of the genre.

A disturbing and critically acclaimed short story that was published in Astonishing in 1954 and later found by Leslie as a teenager, "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin.

Fate Magazine, 1952
Fate magazine table of contents
Changes in the magazine industry leading to a different format and rising costs of production of the pulp magazines.

New venues for publishing thanks to the Internet.

Ivy Cole and the Moon by Gina Farago

Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, September, 1958
A great website about pulp magazines, The Pulp Magazine Project.

A Little Unexpected...

Leslie's favorite pulp magazine author, Arthur C. Clarke.


"Any path to knowledge is a path to God—or Reality, whichever word one prefers to use." - Arthur C. Clarke

"One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion." - Arthur C. Clarke

 "I sometimes think that the universe is a machine designed for the perpetual astonishment of astronomers," - Arthur C. Clarke

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 - October 17, 2016

"Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees. " Victor Hugo
As we each go through this day, with our physical pains, our emotional hurts, our very real worries, and our joys and gratitudes, may we be assured the soul and Spirit are together. So be it. - Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Thoughts - October 16, 2016

"you have a poem to offer/ it is made of action" - Juan Felipe Herrera. Poet Laureate, USA.
I've always been fascinated with the poet laureates, those men and women chosen for their ability to bring beauty, clarity, and a vividness to what surrounds us. They are masters of words, turning them into road signs for the rest of us to follow. Poets have been around basically forever, and for good reason. We need reminders that each of us has a poem to offer and we need to reveal it through our actions. I sat against a tree this summer at Chautauqua and listened and watched the poet Billy Collins, who was our poet laureate a decade or so ago. He made me laugh until tears. That's an action I find most enjoyable! - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Thoughts - October 15, 2016

"The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy." -Florence Scovel Shinn, writer, artist and teacher (1871-1940)
Years ago, I gave a children's sermon on this topic. I held a boomerang in my hand and (jokingly) offered to demonstrate (picture lots of stained glass windows....). Did you know that on an airplane a boomerang is considered a weapon? That is how accurate some hunters were/are with the implement. And it is true, or has been for me, that thoughts, words, and deeds either come back to haunt or to help me. Call it karma, label it cause/effect -whatever. The older I get, the more careful I am, especially with my unkind thoughts. Those seem to come back and bite me! - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, October 14, 2016

Thoughts - October 14, 2016

"Nothing shows a man's character more than what he laughs at." Goethe.
My mother disliked sarcasm and mimicry....and it's taken me many years to learn to appreciate that kind of humor (when it is positive and truly funny). Yet she loved practical jokes (which I've never learned to like!). To this day, I feel guilty about John Ford and I 'fooling' our trusting little 5 y.o. him a spoonful of vegemite (the yeasty black stuff that Australians and British folks eat like peanut butter, albeit spread more thinly ....) and pretending that it was thick chocolate sauce. Oh, the look on his face!!! Of course, Taylor will tell the tale with gusto and grins....but I still think I chipped a bit at my character that day. Does anyone else feel haunted by such seemingly silly memories?!! - Beth Almond Ford

Thoughts - Occtober 13, 2016

"Rich people can't buy more hours; scientists can't invent new minutes. And you can't save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you've wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow." Dennis Waitley.
Time certainly is the great equalizer, isn't it? Although I love to 'waste' time doing the things that bring me pleasure (who doesn't?!), I'm not so sure how to define 'wasted'. When I look back on my life, the memories are often made up of the time I spent with friends, family, good books, vacations, and the like. Yet, I also am grateful for my variety of jobs and the years of doing meaningful work. (perhaps all work is meaningful, if done with passion?!) And even as a daydreamer, I can't say those moments that brought imagination, stories, and solutions for problems were wasted. Some may say FB itself is a time-waster, but I have cherished the chance to become reacquainted with friends from my past, as well as connecting with new folks who add ideas, humor, and beauty to my current world. Yes, time is amazingly fair -- listen to and love each moment. - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Aim High!

A quote from Episode 25.

“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

Thoughts - October 12, 2016

“I said to the almond tree, 'Sister, speak to me of God.' And the almond tree blossomed.”
~ Nikos Kazantzakis
Okay, of course this quote caught my eye! Yet, even if it was apple or cherry or pecan trees, my reaction would be the same. It's like that old saying Grandma (who moved around quite often as a Methodist minister's wife) liked to pull out: Bloom where you are planted. It is our unique gifts that bring the color, the fragrance, and the fruit. And our sturdy roots. And our moral and ethical values. And our stories and revelations. In our family, we have an almond tree planted over our pet cemetery (along with dogwoods and pussy willows...), reminding of us our season of blooming - our time here on earth. -  Beth Almond Ford.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thoughts - October 11, 2016

"He who gives when he is asked has waited too long." ~Sunshine Magazine.
I, like most of us, am stubborn and independent. The thought of having to ask someone for a 'favor' finds me with clenched jaw. Throughout the decades of my life, when finding myself in need, I went without - or asked my dear mother. Or God. Somehow asking God is easy to do since we are taught 'ask, and it is given.' Yet, throughout my life, there have been hundreds of times that someone out there was observant, was listening to the nudges of the Spirit, and reached out to me. Someone didn't wait to be asked. These people humble me. They are the teachers and angels in our lives. I want to be one of them. - Beth Almond Ford

Monday, October 10, 2016

Thoughts - October 10, 2016

"My hope is that solid history will replace popular myths about the man who did not discover America but surely did open it, for better and for worse, to a substantial remaking. His is a story of high adventure and deep darkness." William Least Heat-Moon, "Columbus In The Americas"
I have this book on my shelf (the author is a friend), but I must admit that what I know about Columbus is more of the myth kind of knowledge. So much of what most of us know about history is the first few inches of a very deep pool. I say this as someone who has "Historical" in her job title and spends more time than most with my head in the past. Christopher Columbus and his exploration of America (the Americas), continues to effect who and what we are today. Hence, a National holiday. Just for fun, try and see if there is something new you can learn about this explorer - or, at least, why he is honored with a holiday bearing his name! - Beth Almond Ford

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Thoughts - October 9, 2016

“We all need somebody to talk to. It would be good if we talked... not just pitter-patter, but real talk. We shouldn't be so afraid, because most people really like this contact; that you show you are vulnerable makes them free to be vulnerable.”
Liv Ullmann
Okay, so what's meant by 'real talk'? I think we know when that is occurring - when the give and take of conversation leaves us trusting the other person. Sometimes I jump into that vulnerable position much too quickly. Sometimes I feel the walls going up the minute I meet someone. Sometimes I feel honored that another person trusts me enough to share. Sometimes I can't believe I am being told such intimate details and I am overwhelmed with (that modern phrase!) "too much information." There are times I've been hurt and betrayed. But when the real talk is mutual, the trust is established - that is when 'real life' begins to happen. - Beth Almond Ford

Thoughts - October 8, 2016

"I wish you would make up your mind, Mr. Dickens. Was it the best of times or was it the worst of times? It could scarcely have been both." New Yorker cartoon caption.
Attitude is everything. I think I understand what Charles Dickens may have been saying. Our hearts can be breaking, yet at the same time friends and family pour out their love and our hearts are full. Tears are flowing....sunsets look brighter. Loneliness is overwhelming....a chat fills the void. The larder is empty....the simple soup tastes so grand. Self pity ......self reflection. Despair....hope. The yin and yang, the dichotomies, the mountains and the valleys, the tears and the laughter, the bests and the worsts. I think I finally see the meaning behind the words: 'in all things, give thanks.' - Beth Almond Ford

Friday, October 7, 2016

Thoughts - October 7, 2016

“It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.”
― Albert Einstein.
Balance and respect. The natural world, the scientific realm. The spiritual, the chemical. The Trinity, the equation. The breath of life and love, the birth process. The flight of a bumblebee, an airborne jet. The quack of a duck, a toot of a horn. A towering oak, a stark bonsai tree. The hands of the Creator, the hands of the created. I love it all! - Beth Almond Ford

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thoughts - October 6, 2016

“If you forgive people enough, you belong to them, and they to you, whether either person likes it or not - squatter's rights of the heart”
― James Hilton, Time and Time Again.
From the author of Goodbye Mr. Chips and Shangri-la, this quote jumped out at me this morning. I simply keep re-reading it, recalling people who have squatter's rights in my heart....whether I like it or not. And then I wonder who might be saying the same thing about me?! - Beth Almond Ford

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Thoughts - October 5, 2016

"You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips."
Oliver Goldsmith.
Of course, we say. We know the truth of that. Yet, we continue to be impatient in line, abrupt with those serving us, spewing nasty words in traffic, using looks we ourselves would hate to receive, etc. It's not always the obvious ways (eat well, exercise, go to church, etc) that we are teaching our children and grandchildren, but more in the subtle ways: how we treat the waitress, the person behind the airline counter, going the extra mile for a friend in need, working a soup kitchen or the like, turning off the electronics and opening a book or splashing in a creek. In these busy times, oh God, please help me to slow down and live a sermon in my life. - Beth Almond ford

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Thoughts - October 4, 2016

"Generally speaking, if you want to know who you really are, as distinct from who you like to think you are, keep an eye on where your feet take you." Frederick Buechner
This is one of those quotes that I often ponder. Sometimes in my mind. Sometimes in my heart. And sometimes with my soul. The feet take me to work, a good and necessary place. And they serve me the same with hikes, church, neighbors, friends. Sometimes, alas, they walk all over our hearts. And, like the 'ol story goes, they leave footprints in the sand, assuring us we don't walk alone. There are times they take us to places where we oughten be and then we wonder how we got there(!) We mutter, "Feet don't fail me now" when we are lost or off the path or went too far in one direction. At times, our feet press a little heavy on the gas pedal and not often enough on the brakes. Think about them today, watch where take you! - Beth Almond Ford

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Thoughts - October 1, 2016

"There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in." Graham Greene.

One moment. I wonder if this is true. I have a good idea when that one moment was for me, but I'm curious if others know. Was it a loss of innocence? A time of powerful grief? An epiphany of wonder and joy? Positive or negative? Empowering or debilitating? Is it worth noting because it steered the path of our choices in life....right up to now? What I think it does help is our understanding of another. It aids in our empathy and compassion towards others. And ourselves. But it is so personal and, I imagine, difficult to share. It is often what comes out on the psychiatrist's couch or the safety of a counselor's room. Perhaps it is simply enough to know each and everyone of us experienced that moment. - Beth Almond Ford

Thoughts - September 30, 2016

"Great talents are the most lovely and often the most dangerous fruits on the tree of humanity. They hang upon the most slender twigs that are easily snapped off." Carl Jung

In our beautiful little rock church, sitting alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway, we recite each week a prayer of confession. My heart sometimes pangs as we come to these words: " wandering from your ways, in wasting your gifts, in forgetting your love...." My sin is looking at my gifts as a slender twig -- and forgetting they are attached to a Mighty Oak. (Amen). - Beth Almond Ford