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

Download this episode (right click and save)

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