Try to Capture September

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Try to Capture September

Here I am, once again. Yes, it is I, right here, standing  smack dab in the center of the Month of September.

What am I doing this month?
I am checking in to say, “Hello!  I hope you are enjoying the many  shades  of September in the place where you are today.”

I’ve been spending all my days thinking of September. I think of how I can write about her. The  rapid changes that are occurring all around me this month make me dizzy: I’m giddy with bursts of nervous energy.  This zest of high energy  was unexpected – hidden in the mists of the crisp early morning. I floated, it seemed, at the crest of September with my feet stretched downwards to dig into the sands of its shoreline. I have been unsuccessful!

 

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Since the beginning of this fast-moving month I  tried to pay attention to the small nuances and lively  details I experienced. I moved carefully, even cautiously  through the month of Ever-changing September. Yes! I am still standing at the mid-point of the month and I feel like I am lost at sea.

I take a deep breath, hold it in for a couple of seconds as I remembered  my fingers and looked at the computer screen. I exhale. Outside, someone is pounding nails with a hammer. Near my feet, the sleeping dog breathes softly; he shifts in his black furry bed. In his sleep he snorts, and my leather chair squeaks as my aching  fingers  pound out some letters on the stiff keyboard. I move my body forward again, bring my mind back to September. The sun streams through the dusty window. My back seeks the stability of my solid chair and I lean into it, put my hands to my face, close my eyes, and think about my breath. In and out. Inhale, exhale, pause, and inhale again. My chest rises, expands, as I hear the sharp piercing call of the eagle flying above the wall of lofty trees outside this window. I ask myself, “Did I remember to bring the cat inside so he is safe?”

I tried to find the right words for a poem to September.  How illusive they are!

 

YellowCrownBeard_Compressed At the beginning of the month I remembered the gentle surprises I saw. Everything changed so rapidly. I took short walks in the woods and I looked over all of the changes I could find. My two dogs stopped, sniffed the breeze. They tried to catch the news of the day, bring it home and share it with me. We  lingered  for awhile on the narrow path. Sillently,  I watched them stop and stare into the thickets  then  upwards  into the tangeled  trees. They paid close attention to all the wild flowers along our path .  I  touched  those blooms so gently and tried to concentrate on the details – I wanted to  memorize each  slender petal of a  Yellow Crownbeard flower.  I gathered a bouquet of dainty White Snakeroot flowers in my hand for a moment. I carefully touched the leaves that surround it.

“How does it look  in the shade?

How does it move in the gentle breeze?” I asked.

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Try to remember it all!
I reached once again, touched  the trunks of trees as we traveled together in the afternoon sun. I remembered the feeling of textures and the girth of an aged Maple tree in my arms. I tried to encircle it. I needed to get a good feel for the overlapping textures of the Locust tree, put it in my memory bank where Iitcan be retrieved  when winter days become anxious and lonely.

My bare feet are warmed as the heater turns on again. My manicured toes wiggle in the crimson red leather sandals. I will have to put  my summer shoes away  soon because the days are growing colder, darker, and the clouds drifting through this  azure blue afternoon sky are gray and ominous.

Eventually, I realized what I searched for in the lonely month, September. Every new day in this quest twisted,  turned in on me as I searched for the form that would be perfect for my September poem. I felt  like a whirling dervish as I kept mentally marking the days and nights. I was swirling in  ever smaller circles, round and round in a spiral.  My feet were on sifting and shifting sand all the time. My thoughts raced far faster than I could ever write down. My entire body was quivering inside because of all the raw material of sensations that this month was giving me.
At this apogee, I realized September  is a charade. She is undependable, captivating and quixotic. She cannot be captured in the Pantoum I had intended to slip her into. I thought of catching her by a sliver of one of her brightest yellow petals, flattening her between the pages like a  Vilanelle.  But  the volume  turned out to be a book of sand and I simply could not get a grasp on her!

This morning I tried to put some words to my paper. I had to step over obstacles of images and feelings. I thought, “I have to just go after a little piece of September. I need to catch her unawares, grab what I can. It might be just a fragment or an adjective. Do it quickly, and run fast, bring that piece to my paper and slap it down with glue. I’ll have to use E-600 for this job!”

What will be expansive enough to hold uncooperative September?
“Yes! I have got it now,” I reasoned. ” t is an ODE that will celebrate precocious September!”

The  10-line stanzas of my “Ode for September”
will be as  surprising  as she, the Whirling Dervish!

Lazy Summer Days of August

Lazy Summer Days

of August

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

2007Boating_MemDay. 2007Boating.

  August days bring back so many memories to me. I love August days in western Pennsylvania because the temperature begins to drop down in the evenings.  Typically, by the second week of August the nights become cooler.  Instead of the steamy days and smoldering nights of July, we get a welcome feeling of  relief when the night temperature drops down into the 50s. We can actually have the windows open to let the breeze sweep through the house and cleanse it from the humidity and stuffiness of July. It is refreshing to lie in bed at night, listen to the myriad of insect sounds tuning up and playing their individual night songs. The sounds come in layers from every direction. You can catch the beat of a night bird, tree frogs, wild geese flying over in the dark, and insects too numerous to even imagine. We live by the creek and we can hear people laughing from down below the ridge, as they go fishing or just relax and enjoy the flowing water. Some people arrive in the late evening and descend down the steep bank where they find a nice big rock to sit on. They will be at the water’s edge  all night long. In the early morning light, they will come back up the hill,  load their fishing gear into their cars and leave for home. I always think they must feel so relaxed after spending the night along the creek banks doing something they love to do. I understand the reason why this is a theme in so many country songs:  fishing along the river at night, drinking a cold beer, and making love to your sweetheart.

My father was an avid fisherman. On August evenings at twilight,  I used to help him find earth worms.  He wore his miner’s helmet with the light on the front of the helmet.  The eerie yellow-light  sizzled and sputtered as we poured mustard water down the holes, into  the earth worm’s tunnels.  It was only a few seconds until a slimey mustard covered worm came to the surface seeking fresh air and we would grab that worm and put it into Dad’s metal pail with the holes all around the sides of it.   Dad and I turned  over rocks and found creepy things there that were used for Dad’s fishing expedition, too. I remember Dad called them helgrimites.

    ~ I was thinking today about how much I love August  ~

Chicory

Chicory mingles with the Queen Ann Lace. When you see them blooming together you will know that summer is waning. They bloom randomly and spontaneously along the roads and fields of Western Pennsylvania every August.
Chicory mingles with the Queen Ann Lace. When you see them blooming together you will know that summer is waning. They bloom randomly and spontaneously along the roads and fields of Western Pennsylvania every August.

It is always the same memories that flood back over me every August as I walk through the woods, across the meadow, along the  ridge, and down the path to cross the creek.

~ Queen Ann Lace and  Chicory ~

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I love it most of all when it is mingled with the periwinkle blue flowers of Chicory. They are usually found growing together along all the roads in  Western Pennsylvania in early August.  I took my camera outside so I could capture the beauty of these wild flowers and remember them after they have gone for the winter.  Queen Ann Lace is my favorite flower. I think it is because of the delicate flowers that are clustered on the thin light green  stems and the way they seem to float in space and ride the soft wafts of the breeze as they sway back and forth. They seem to be dancing on the air.  The chicory flowers are r studier, almost like a daisy, with petals branching outward from a round, dark, center.  Each little petal comes to a squared off point, looking like a saw tooth edge at the tip, and the color of the Chicory flowers seem to pop out from among the white Queen Ann Lace flowers.

 

I looked back through some early poems I wrote and selected this one because it fits the season. I wrote it in Austria during the summer of 1998.

That particular summer day, I walked along the sidewalk that meanders along the banks of  the  Salzach River in Salzburg, I saw an older couple sitting quietly on the well worn wooden bench. They faced the river. They were so engaged in being together, in their own private conversation that they paid no attention to anyone else.

     I sat in the grass behind them, and I took out my sketchbook.

     I did a pencil sketch of the two friends there on the bench, and later I penned this poem from the memories of the day and the image I had sketched. My travel journals have always been a source of creative inspiration to me. I can go back to them long after I have returned home, even years later, and begin to write about a particular day, place, or moment of my life.

Make it a HABIT to take your journal or sketchbook with you as you travel in the summer time. You will find so many little moments you may want to record and then you can go back to your book later on and begin to create a poem or write an essay about this day.

 

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Two Friends on a Bench

Two friends on a bench

Comfort each other

Relaxed conversation

A scratch of the head A nod,

touch of the arm

A gesture of the hand, a look

The afternoon passes

two pidgins fly under the bench

Old friends never notice

the people walking by

they only see each other

From a hidden tree branch

a bird begins to sing

a love song to them.

 

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Blog: Copyright 2014.

Poem: Copyright, 1998_ Lynda McKinney . Lambert. All Rights Reserved.

 Written in Salzburg, Austria, July 1998

Book of Remembrance

June 10, 1942
Lidice, Czechlosovakia

 

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This June day in western Pennsylvania is everything we could imagine such a day would be. The birds are singing as they normally do on a June morning. The sun was up in the sky well Before 7 am:

     My dogs have had their morning walk. Bob and I have had a good breakfast together; we had toast and eggs and orange juice. Bob has gone into town to do some errands. I am at home in my office. I have some forms that need my attention today and I plan to get them all finished up and sent out today. In the kitchen, country music is playing on the radio. It’s a normal June 10th day in every way.

Eventually, the date of June 10th crossed my mind again. This time though, it was like a soft whisper from the distant past. Then, I began to remember something else. I remembered Lidice. I had visited Lidice once a year, on my summer travels in Europe. This village was so important, I believed, that I took my students there to stroll about the rolling landscape, walk through the fields of summer wild flowers that were blooming everywhere.

When I wrote my book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, I included a short historical note about Lidice. And, after that, I included the poem I wrote, “Book of Remembrance in Lidice.” Below, I have put those two peces from my book into this Blog post today, for you to read.

The journals that I kept each summer, as I traveled, became the source of information I needed to write about Lidice. I have often turned to my journals for material to write new poems and essays.

 

 

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This is from my book,

pages 9 – 11.

Historical Note:

The earliest records concerning the village of Lidice can be found in the 13th century. The
village was dominated by St. Martin’s church.
It was a typical Czech village and had the first school with central heating in Bohemia in the 1700’s.

St Martin’s church was destroyed during the Hussite wars and again in the Thirty Years’ war.
It was rebuilt and decorated by Czech artists.

On June 9, 1942 the village of Lidice had 102 houses and 493 residents. The oldest woman was 88 years. The youngest infant was 2 weeks. There were 14 farms and a mill in the village.

On June 10, the shooting began:

192 men shot dead
7 women shot dead
52 women martyred in the concentration camp
88 children assassinated

Lidice was leveled to the ground.

___________

Book of Remembrance in Lidice

In the museum
a Book of Remembrance
records the facts –
names, dates, village

A Plexiglas box
holds debris –
sand and dirt
human remains

A basket of flowers on
an embroidered hanky
with lace around the edges
hands clasped in friendship
on a corner of the lace scallop.

Envelopes
with tea colored letters
faded red stamps
written in pencil
postmarked.

A wall for the men
A wall for women
with photos and
names
pf the dead
posted

Eighty-two bronze children stand
In the field just off the path
It’s a secluded place
beneath a solitary pine tree
where chicory frolics with the grass.

I imagine it was such a lovely summer meadow
Clover, Sweet Peas, Dandelion,
Crown Vetch, Queen Anne’s Lace
a large snail in a smooth spiral shell
beneath the silent pine tree

Zum Gedenhen an die millionen kinder, Die Dem 11. Weltkrieg zum opfer gefallen sind.

In Memoriam – Jahre 1942
The Children of Lidice

______________

…all past events are more remote from our senses than the stars of the remotest galaxies, whose own light at least still reaches the
telescopes. But the moment just past is extinguished forever, save for the things made during it.
George Kubler

 

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Good Information on Sight Loss

I started this blog originally to share information on sight loss.  I found this article today and I hope it is helpful to someone who may read it.  There are warning signs that may indicate you have a problem or could be facing sight loss. Don’t brush those sighs off as just your imagination.  Take a closer look at them, and be sure to follow the advice given in this article.   http://www.jsonline.com/sponsoredarticles/senior-living/7-sightsaving-habits-for-older-adults-to-help-maintain-independence8087000102-260997931.html\\

 

 One in six Americans over age 65 has a visual impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. This is often caused by common eye conditions and diseases. Among older Americans, visual impairment is one of the most significant contributors to loss of independence; it is also associated with a higher prevalence of chronic health conditions, falls, injuries, depression and social isolation.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that seniors follow these seven tips to help protect their vision:

1. Get an eye exam.

eye doctor and patient at exam

Adults age 65 and over should get a medical eye exam every one to two years. Regular eye exams are crucial in detecting changes in vision, which may be a symptom of a treatable eye disease or condition. Seniors who have not had an eye exam in the last three years and for whom cost is a concern may qualify for EyeCare America. This is a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which delivers eye exams and care at no out-of-pocket cost for eligible seniors age 65 and older through its corps of more than 6,000 volunteer ophthalmologists. Visitwww.eyecareamerica.org to see if you or your loved ones are eligible.

2. Know the symptoms of vision loss.

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Signs of vision loss may become apparent as reading, writing, shopping, watching television, driving a car and/or recognizing faces become more difficult. Vision loss that may be noticed by friends and family include missing, bumping into or knocking over objects, stepping hesitantly, and squinting or tilting the head when trying to focus.

3. Make eye-healthy food choices.

healthy foods
A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains benefits the entire body, including the eyes. Studies show that foods rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin are good for eye health. These nutrients are linked to lower risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eye later in life. Eye-healthy food choices include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and cold water fish.

4. Quit smoking.

man breaking cigarette
Avoiding smoking and second hand smoke – or quitting, for current smokers – are some of the best investments everyone can make for long-term eye health. Smoking increases risk for eye diseases like cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and raises the risks for cardiovascular diseases that indirectly influence eyes’ health. Tobacco smoke, including second-hand smoke, also worsens dry eye.5. Maintain normal blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.

Doctor and patient at blood pressure check

High blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose (sugar) levels all increase the risk of vision loss from an eye disease. Keeping these under control will not only help one’s eyes but also overall health.

6. Get regular physical activity.

3 women on walk

Not only does 30 minutes of exercise a day benefit one’s heart, waistline and energy level, it can also do the eyes a world of good! Many eye diseases are linked to other health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

7. Wear sunglasses.

Couple wearing sunglasses

Exposure to ultra violet (UV) light raises the risks of eye diseases, including cataract, growths on the eye and cancer. Always wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection, and a hat while enjoying time outdoors.

Visit eyecareamerica.org to see if you are eligible for eye exams and care at no out-of-pocket cost. For more information about keeping eyes healthy throughout life, visit www.geteyesmart.org.

How to CREATE a POEM from your JOURNAL Entries…

Lynda pauses for a moment in Mirabell Gardens. Photo taken in 2006.
Lynda pauses for a moment in Mirabell Gardens. Photo taken in 2006.

Turn a Journal Entry into a Poem

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

 

Are you having trouble trying to get a poem started?

Does it seem like you are looking at a blank wallwhen nothing comes into your imagination?

 

Those are the times when I begin to think in a different way. Instead of looking at the moment, I will metaphorically turn around and look backwards for my inspiration. This works magic for me, usually.

 

Writers often discover treasures for writing  poems and other literary pieces when they look back into history. They seek out additional insight and information on something they  think is interesting. You may want to try this method, too.  Look  into your thoughts or ideas, something that seemed  curious about. Don’t you just want to know more about that thing that captured your attention as you wrote in your journal?. Just one little detail or one image can lead you to unearth some fine  gems in your own writing. Why not give it a try!

 

This one way of working that inspired some of my best pieces. Typically, I keep a travel journal on my trips. I make sketches of interesting things I encountered and I write short notes from day to day as I record my experiences. My travel journals later become the raw material I looked back into long after I returned home. The things I find there can be exciting new revelations, or even unexpected surprises. Sometimes I can see things much better after I have been away from my journal for some time.

 

Let me provide you with an example of one of my journal reflections that gave me information I could use to write a poem.

 

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On a lovely summer day as I enjoyed the fragrance of the fully blooming roses in a formal garden in Salzburg, Austria, I was thinking about hoe I would remember this place. I had my journal with me, and began to jot dow a few notes.  The famous Mirabell Gardens was a place where I vitied so often during my summers there as a college professor who taught a course called, “Drawing and Writing in Salzburg.”

 

I wrote some quick notes about the palace – it’s location in the center of Salzburg, and the fascinating Archbishop who commissioned the building of the palace for  his mistress and their many children. I used a basic ball-point pen to make a few line drawings of various aspects of the architecture, the gardens, and the fortress on the mountain top that overlooked the palace.

 

Later, I looked into some historical notes on this intriguing story.  The people who had lived in this magnificent palace became so real to me that I began to imagine their lives in a personal way.  This story did  not have a happy ending. The Archbishop eventually make so many political enemies that he was eventually arrested and imprisoned in the fortress dungeon where he spent the remaining years of his life. He died in prison in the fortress, high above the city, overlooking his palace.  His mistress, Salome Alt, fled with  their children to Wels, another  city where they were safe.

 

You can do a little scribble drawing, take some quick  photos,  or jot down some descriptive notes in a  journal. Later, when there is more time to think it over, use those thoughts and images when you  craft a poem. It only takes a few visual or text notations to awaken memories.

 

Turning Journal Notes into a Poem:

 

Explore the HISTORY:

Consider the history of the place and the people who inhabited it.

Write down some historical notes. They can be made on location as you are visiting a place and that is the best way to begin. Later, when you are back home you can do some additional research to gain even more information to set the stage for the historical context.

 

Example from my journal:

 

Mirabell Palace, sits like a jewel in the heart of Salzburg, Austria. It was originally called Altenau, was built in 1606 by the Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau as a home for his mistress Salome’  Alt and their children.   The famous Mirabell Gardens surround the palace.  Fischer von Erlach designed them .  On the grounds are stone sculptures that are perched on the pillars on each side of the gates as you enter the palace grounds. They are massive, much larger than life. They are depictions of mythological heroes.  In other places you can find sculptures such as unicorns, a Pegasus fountain, gloriously blooming flowers spilling from large urns and a magical rose garden all enclosed by local wrought ironwork.

 

The stone urns sit atop the pilasters that surround the lush gardens.  Each urn seems like it is literally spewing glorious flowers like a waterfall they are bursting forth from the urns. I sit and make pencil sketches of the urns. Each one is different from the others; each has a different design. All are massive.

Wolfe spent the final six years of his life imprisoned in Hohensalzburg Fortress which overlooks the city of Salzburg.  The fortress prison was his destiny as he was held prisoner until his death in 1612.”

 

 

Look over your notes and think about bringing something to life from this place and the people who lived there. What do you think they might have been like?

 

Example from my journal:

When I walked through the mansion, and sat in the gardens, I thought of the love that a man had for a woman and the children they had together. Because Wolfe was an Archbishop, marriage was not permitted for them Yet, she was clearly his mistress. She bore 13 children to him. The Mirabell Palace was built for her and the children.

 

When I learned that Wolfe was imprisoned for the final 6 years of his life, I began to think of what might have been going through his mind in the prison dungeon as he thought of his beautiful mistress and their children. He would never be with them again.

 

I have imagined Wolfe may have smuggled love notes to Salome’  during those six years of imprisonment. The focus I would choose to write about would be the imaginary love notes he sent to her.

 

 

 

My poem developed, as I wrote a series of tiny “love notes” from Wolfe to Salome’ – Here is what developed, in the poem “Salome’s Garden.”

I chose to write each “note” using the Haiku form. It’s often used to express love. Below, you can read  the poem I developed from journal notes, my memories, imagination, and history.

 

Salome’s Garden

(Haiku notes from Wolfe, smuggled from prison)

 

 

IIf we could measure

The length of our time on earth

Before we began the journey

I would have hoped

for golden days alone,

in the garden

with you.

II

Pegasus can fly

When waxed begonias bloom in

Mirabell’s Garden.

 

III

Is our garden lush?

Yellow marigolds touched by

Morning’s cool damp mist?

 

IV

Do our marble stairs

Come to life during the night

When the putti dance?

 

 

V

The orangerie waits

Near the end of the garden

Hidden, out of view.

 

 

VI

The scent of roses

Permeated my cell tonight

Just before twilight.

 

 

VII

“Salome and Wolfe”

We danced down pink marble stairs

Hot candles flickered.

 

 

VIII

Lions guard our steps

To the secret garden path

Where the dwarfs carouse.

 

 

IX

Raphael Donner

Created putti to frolic

On pink marble crests.

 

 

X

I miss your soft touch

Long to be near you at the

End of my journey

 

 

XI

You are my crown jewel

In the snow that melts away

Everything I touch.

 

 

XII

When our garden fades

Icy frost covers windows

I will remember you.

 

 

Xiii

Our children will dance

In gardens we created

From imagination.

 

 

I am a TEN!


TEN

I was asked to LIST TEN things you may not know about me.

Photo_MomJeanneMe1944006One: 

I was named to honor  my Aunt Jeanne.  My  middle name is pronounced “Jean” because it i FRENCH. My aunt was Dorothy Jeanne Kirker Hess. She was one of my best friends for just about all of my life. In this photo, I sit beween my Mother, Esther Kirker McKinney –  on the left – and my Aunt Jeanne –  on the right.

 

 

Two:Photo_Me_MomDad_943

My father was drafted into the Army during WWII and left for Europe when I was 2 weeks old.  That was in September 1943. He returned from the war after I was two years old.

 

 

Esther_Ida_Kids_025Three:

As a child, I ran barefoot, climbed trees, played in mud, danced in the rain and hated dolls. All  of   those attributes still apply to me at age 70.

In this photo I am sitting beside my grandmother, Ida Matilda Kiesling Kirker. My mother, and siblings are Patricia, David, and Thomas.   Don’t let the dress fool you. I am a girl who plays like a boy, and loves trucks and the earth in my Father’s gardens.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAFour: 

I married my high school sweetheart  at age 17. He is now 73 years old and I still think he is “cute.”

 

 

 

 

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Five:

My lifetime passion for English Literature blossomed because my mother took me to the public library every week for a new armload of books. My favorite pastime as a child was reading on the front porch in the summer time.

Six:   

My best memories of  school  are  the times when Mrs. Matthews read to us in 6th grade and Mr. Brown taught us grammar and read Shakespeare and poetry to our class in 10th  grade. They are the two teachers who stand our in my memory, to this day.

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Seven: 

A new pair of shoes can heal any wound. Celebrate your most precious occasions with a new pair of shoes.

 

Eight:   _MessageFromtheStars

I find nothing more compelling than Greek mythology. My art grows out of the myths and the ancient texts I have read. this piece is _Message from the Stars_

GE DIGITAL CAMERANine: 

I am certain that God can be seen if you climb high enough into the apple tree in Mr.  Corbin’s back yard.  I always knew that TREES are the AXIS MUNDI between here and there. I planted this GINKGO in 1967 – today, it soars twice as high as the house at River Road. I love this tree.

 

KittyHawk_march2014Ten:  

My best advice for life is “trust no one who does not like animals.”

Our pets love us unconditionally and forever.

Our animals are the closest thing we will know of heaven until we are finally there.  The Bible opens with stories of the creation of animals, and ends with the animals – front to back, the BOOK gives us the story of the CREATION of the universe and our PLACE  in it.  Our PAST, our PRESENT, and our FUTURE.

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Above:  Mitchell sees her shadow on a cool winter morning. in March 2014. She was abandoned on River Road in November 2009 – she is a vigilant  watcher of the house day and night -

Above:  Rocco was adopted in January 2009, when this photo was taken.  He was about 7 at this time.   He is my personal guard dog – never takes his eyes off of me.

Little Steps at the Beginning of the Journey

Little Steps at the Beginning of the Journey

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I have found some effective and life-changing little steps we can begin to take every day that will lead us out of fear and feelings of low self-esteem. They will work for anyone at any age or stage of life. They are free and require no down payment or financial expense at all.  In fact, you won’t even need to clip coupons or sign a contract to begin to turn your life around and find a “new you.” You are about to begin a journey with me, when you choose to take the first little steps.

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Here are my little steps  to the new you:

 

Little Step #1 – Get a STOP SIGN

You get to make a choice right now.  Here’s what I am offering to get you going.  Make a CHOICE  –  STOP   fears, insecurities, and challenges you have embraced.  Decide to put a STOP sign up in your mind every time you begin to speak about negative things that have kept you bound up for way too long.  Everyone experiences negative feelings, fears, guilt, hatred, and self pity. Decide to quit talking about those things and instead, talk about the good things you experience every day.

Have you noticed that the THINGS that come to us in the NIGHT are never positive – always negative and fearful?  When you wake up with those frightening thoughts, STOP them in their tracks. Put up that STOP sign.

And, while you are at it, forgive anyone who has hurt you in the past. Just release that hurt and let go of it. It is not worth holding onto.  Put up your STOP sign right now.  We can always, in every situation, choose how to react. At any moment we can regain power by taking the higher path and making better choices.

 

Little Step # 2- No more  excuses

Take responsibility for your life and eliminate the excuses that have kept you from experiencing a satisfying life.

Think about what you personally can do and take action. Ask yourself what you can do, and then listen for the response.  Don’t worry, it won’t be something beyond your capabilities. It will be just a little step that will come to your mind. Go ahead. See where it takes you. I can promise you, it will be just perfect for you and your interests and passions in life.

Little Step #3 – Change some of your words

Change your vocabulary and choose better words that will make you feel like a winner.

The next time you feel words like “I can’t” coming up in your mouth, switch it to “I will figure out how to do that!”

Little Step #4 – Look for an “Exit” sign

 When you feel like you are trapped in a corner with no exit in sight, switch it around in your mind, and begin to scan the horizon for the exit sign. It’s there. Don’t worry. You will soon find it but you have to begin to look for it first.

Eliminate feeble  phrases, such as, “I think” or “I feel,” “in my opinion,” “honestly,” “and “but”  from your speech. Instead, say positive and strong statements such as “I know” or “I am certain.”  Watch what a difference this will make in your conversations with other people. You will lift them up with your confidence and you will eliminate hesitation and waffling in your own consciousness as you speak.

Little Step #5 – Get your Mantra Right!

Give yourself an “attitude adjustment” by using your personal mantra every day.  Think about what you are going to say, and see if you need to turn it around to be more assertive and positive. Your attitude may need a tune-up.

When you begin to realize you might be viewed  as a “bossy person” begin to think “I am a person who has very strong leadership abilities.” Your strength and assertive leadership abilities may often be criticized by negative, fearful, and insecure people   Recognize that, and continue on to be the leader you already are deep down inside.

I have adopted a personal mantra for my everyday life. My mantra is “I have everything I need and I have it right now.”  This changed my focus from thinking about things as not attainable, to thinking instead of already having what I need. I think of what I do already have and it changes my focus.  It gives me abundance instead of lack. It reminds me to be grateful for what I have and to honor that gratitude in my daily life.

Little Step # 6.- Stay focused on gratitude:

Here are some creative and fun ways that I found to be beneficial not only to myself, but to others:

 

Write a JOURNAL and focus on your revision of life

This is not a diary of “what I did today.”  This is a statement of what I am revising and envisioning for my life.  Write it out as though it has come to pass. Write out the details that you envision.  As you write it out, you are setting your intention and you are sending it out to the Universe.  You are intentionally “casting your bread upon the waters” and it will return to you multiplied. You are planting seeds that will grow a harvest in your personal life.

Begin a Blog

Write positive  essays and poems.  Share inspiring photographs and art works. You will quickly find that when writing about uplifting and encouraging topics, that you will keep yourself inspired as you reach out this way to other people who will read your blog articles.

 

Create a Facebook Page

Be inspired and positive every time you visit your page. Don’t get caught up in passing along gossip or negative comments or replies. Make strong and powerful statements that others will look forward to reading.  Never post negative words toward another person but look for the best things you can say to and about everyone you are in contact with.  It is a gift to be able to communicate with others and in return, give your cyber  friends  the gifts of good, positive, uplifting words at every opportunity you have.

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Display your awards and honors

Have you won some award ribbons or garnered some plaques of recognition? Put them out on your wall so you can see them every day and think about the recognition you received when you won them.  They are physical markers of your life’s achievements and be proud of them.  Toot your own horn, and sing your own tune. Follow your muse and give thanks for the rewards and awards you have garnered by your hard work and dedication.

Perhaps you have graduated from college or other kinds of programs where you received a diploma. Frame your diplomas and hang them on your wall.  Mine are nicely framed and I look at them often as I sit in my office working.  Dust off those trophies you have won and display them with pride on a shelf in a special place.

My diplomas, award ribbons and trophies and plaques help me realize I worked many years, spent a great deal of  my very hard earned money and dedicated  so much thought and energy  in the process  as I earn them. You can be very proud of these symbols of your own achievements  and they deserve a special place in your daily life.

Other ways of celebrating your life every day can be by framing special photos of yourself, your family, and your friends. Make a grouping of those people and put it prominently in your home or office so that you share their lives with others who see them.  I have framed a number of family photographs and put them along the stairway wall leading to the upstairs of our home. Every time I walk by them, I see the faces of people I love and I honor them in this way. Often, I say a silent prayer for a particular face that I have seen that morning as I come downstairs for the day. Each person is a “treasure” and deserved this special recognition.

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Take my Little Steps at the beginning of your journey. One or two small steps every day can be your initial goals on this new path to overcome negative feelings. No more “pity parties” for you!  Your little steps will lead you away from all of them.  You are changing every day and you can feel it!   You will develop some other special little steps that will be just for you to take as you begin the journey. I am offering just a few of my own for you to consider today.

Be sure to share your discoveries to wholeness with everyone around you. They will see a difference in you and they will be curious. This is your opportunity to share the joy of living beyond fear.  Others will soon be joining you on this new path and it’s so much fun to walk together as we are renewed and refreshed every day.

 

 

 

The Essence of Our Intentions

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The Essence of Intentions

by Lynda McKinney Lambert, January 6, 2014

      This is the kind of winter day when it feels just right to spend some time thinking about some of the things we might want to experience at the beginning of a new year. Somehow, when the temperature drops near the zero point, we pause for awhile in the cozy warmth of our home and take time to dwell on personal things that might be forgotten when the world begins gradually to shift once again towards a time of new beginnings.

     May I suggest that we spend a few days, right now, to map out the journey?

     INTENTION  begins the moment when we decide to take the action of thinking about what we want to do, where we want to go, and what we might become in the future.  We will not be afraid of beginning the expedition and failure will never hold us back. Yes, we will have some falls!  For a time, they can bring us to a quick stop and we will feel the pain of those falls.  We will begin again, as many times as we need to do it.  We’ll keep on going because we have written out a plan and we will remember our intentions for this journey.

      I was recently mulling over the conversations I had with other people and the feelings I was dancing with in my solitary times of reflection.  Words of the past few days of the first week of the New Year linger on in my thoughts.  I paused awhile as I asked, “What are my own intentions? I began to realize that to find my “intentions” I needed to begin to do the mindful work, seek out the core beliefs I held.  I thought, “What is the ESSENCE of what I want to do?”

      I am not talking about goals and dreams here. Yes, we have them, and we’ll continue to work towards them a step at a time.  I do strongly recommend that you set some goals for the year, too. Set goals that are attainable.  Be sure to outline some short term goals that you can work towards on your way to the end goals.  Be realistic. When you reach each of the short term goals, then celebrate and give yourself a reward for reaching it.

 CELEBRATE EVERY STEP YOU TAKE.

 Be GOOD to yourself!

      I am speaking about something MORE than our GOALS right now.

     It is our inner motivations, our spirit, and the very core of who we are. That’s what I want to discuss with you today.

  How can we determine what our INTENTIONS will be?

 We begin by asking ONLY ONE question:

 “What will I gain?” 

     You can begin at this moment. Pause for a few minutes, pick up your paper and pen, and make a list of what you need to DO

 With each thing you write, ask: “Will this fit my lifestyle?”

 What is it that you want to pursue in the year ahead?

      The only thing we know for sure is that we have this moment, today. We have no assurance that we will see another day, as we consider our intentions for the unknown future we imagine we may have.

  Sit down today and begin to write YOUR INTENTIONS down. 

       I did this today, too! It was fun and I am satisfied with the list I have made for myself. Each thing on my list “fits” my lifestyle, my personal talents, and my interests. You can see what I wrote. Perhaps it will give you a place to begin our own exploration into “intent” for your own life I hope it helps you get to where you desire to be in the year we have entered into now

How did I begin this task?

First, I made a list of my own intentions for this year.

     I wrote them as they came to me. I began writing a few things down that were important to me. You will have your own list when you search your own mind for what is important to you.

      You might like to think about your “intentions” too, so why not write them down!

 Here’s my list:

1.)  My most important intention is to spend some time in silence and prayer each day. If only for short periods of time – maybe I’ll begin by sitting quietly in a secluded place where I can be alone for awhile. Silence is where we can be open to the leading of God in our life.  I can begin by just sitting alone for 15 minutes, twice a day.

2.) I intend to nurture my own creative spirit each day through art and writing time. When we get quiet and begin to do creative work, we find we pass into a place that is “timelessness.”  There is nothing else in our life that is as important as spending some time alone to experience what creativity can do for our spirit and in our life.

Through my art and writing, I have a unique, distinct pathway to communicate with the world I live in.

3.) I intend to stay focused on my nutrition and exercise program. Our body is a reflection of our mind and it reveals the things that are important to us. I follow a vegan lifestyle, exercise at the gym, and in all ways possible I focus on allowing my body to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.

I  keep up my daily fitness program by using www.loseit.com every day to log my foods, daily exercise. I’ll continue to encourage others to find the energy and zest of life that can be obtained through a healthy body, mind, and spirit – all working together.  I will not allow bad food choices to take away my energy or load my body down with things that bring dysfunctions and disease. I will give my body a rest one day a week to recover and refresh it.  I will follow the ancient wisdom path that teaches us to “do less to have more.”

4.) I intend to surround myself ONLY with like-minded people.  I will ask myself this question, “Will this person offer positive and uplifting support to me and respect me personally, and support my goals?”  We have to be aware that some people whom we have considered to be our friends will intentionally, consciously, sabotage us and try to destroy our plans.  If the person does not respect your plan for  life, then it is crucial that you disconnect your relationship with that person immediately.  I am very serious about this. You cannot continue to grow if there are people around you who are undermining your commitment to growth. You simply PULL THE PLUG, and do it NOW.

Negative and disrespectful people will bring destructive and depressing energy to us and we need to be very aware of that fact.  We have to be very selfish. We have to look out for ourselves so that we live up to our potential and our intentions. To do this, we can remember to check our inner feelings about a person.  Our intuition will ALWAYS give us an ALERT, deep inside.  We can learn to READ our inner feelings and listen to our intuition. This will prevent many difficult encounters with people who are destructive to our goals.  If you stop to think about this, you will recall the times when your “gut” clearly warned you about dangers ahead. On those occasions when you brushed this inner wisdom aside, I am certain that you experienced some very difficult situations because you did not listen to that inner voice that we all have been given.  Guidance comes to us through the “still small voice” of God. Pay attention to it and avoid so many situations that are unpleasant in the future. Remember the ancient Greek adage, “Know Thyself.”  It is an aphorism and principal that runs through all civilizations through the centuries and it’s still applicable for us today.

I remind myself of this every day when I look at the message I have posted just above my computer screen. It says, “TRUST INNER FEELINGS.” Learn to look INSIDE of yourself, and experience the wisdom that will come to you when you do this regularly.

5.) I intend to read texts that will teach positive ways to live a victorious life.  For this year, I will follow the 7 Laws of Spiritual Success as outlined by Deepak Chopra in his book:  I will work on one of the laws each day. There is so much wisdom we can get from authors who have left texts behind for us to read. My word for this year is “Essence.”  I will stop and consider the essence of everything I plan to do.

Where will this lead me?

Is it the way I wish to go?”

6.) I intend to give something away to each person I am in contact with each day. It could be a flower, a little gift, a prayer, a word of encouragement or a compliment.

 

7.) I intend to give professional assistance or services as opportunities become available. I will carefully consider invitations to be a panelist or presenter for organizations, or invitation for exhibiting my art in galleries and museum settings. Each opportunity will be considered by asking, “Does this fit the essence of what my life is about and where I want to be?”

“The crow always knows when the snow will be arriving.”

 The Crow Always Knows When the Snow Will be Arriving…

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The Crow Always Knows When the Snow Will be Arriving”

by Lynda McKinney Lambert, January 2, 2014.

How can it be?  It is already January 2nd!

     I reached out, slowly turned over the final page of last year’s calendar.  This calendar has “Healthy Living” imprinted on the front of it.  I paused for a little break from my writing this afternoon and looked at my well-worn, ink-marked calendar from last year. The bright landscape picture on the cover is obviously one that was photo-shopped and manipulated to heighten the colors and give the calendar a surreal feeling.  It’s the kind of calendar scene we are accustomed to receiving each year from our local bank. I kept it here on the desk in my office so I could plan the days and appointments throughout the year. I wrote down all the appointments in the little squares, month by month. Sometimes, I took notice of when the full moon would be in the night sky because I like to go outside on those nights and just feel the wonder of it.

     Today, this calendar cover seemed compelling to me as I thought about the year I had just completed. I had not taken the time to really look at it during the year.  The calendar was just something that was taken for granted as I referred to it for appointments regularly. As I worked this morning at my computer, I began to feel tired and I needed to take a little break.  I pushed back my chair to relax for a few moments. As I focused my attention on the calendar, I had the feeling like a shift had begun and it was taking me into that photograph. I walked, knee-deep, through the sunlight on the grassy meadow.  The deep green meadow was so expansive that I felt like I had stepped into another dimension; it seemed to be nearly endless. Gradually, I felt the warmth of the soft morning light falling on my shoulders; I waded through the tall, still grasses and noticed the delicate, translucent ivory blossoms growing deep inside the rich amethyst shadows between the tufts and blades of grass.  My eyes shifted upwards to search the distance in front of me.  Just beyond this field of lush summer growth, there was a much taller border of deep green shapes that had a menacing effect on me. I thought, “They seem to be planning a conspiracy to trap me in this field.”

       A closer look revealed a barrier made from rows of tall, slender evergreen trees. They must have locked their arms together and now stand motionless at the end of the field.  “Are they trying to take my attention away so I cannot see what is standing behind them?”  I was not sure. In the silhouette profile of forms, Nature presented another layer to the landscape. I smiled because I was not fooled by this charade. The trees were just not powerful enough to distract me because I had already seen the luminescent, lavender dusted snow-peaks of the distant mountain range.  They pointed upward into the vast western sky.  The mountain peaks looked like paper cut outs against the azure blue sky – an unrestrained sky that has only a very few shifting, billowing clouds off to the right side of the glossy picture. The central mountain peak pointed into the heavens as it beckoned to me.  “Come closer,” it said.

     For a moment I stood still – transfixed in time and space.  I forgot completely that I am seated in front of a computer screen, alone, in my home office.  It’s still snowing outside and the room I sit in is flooded with bright light.  I glanced over my right shoulder to see the view outside. Yes, it is all still there, just as I thought it would be.

 I am not hiking in the splendor of a lazy summer day, meandering through a meadow beneath the mountains and the blue sky. Instead, it is January in western Pennsylvania. Outside, It is frigid and the snow continues to fall.

     I think, “That snow is trying to bury everything. It’s quickly covering over all the secret paths the deer left here this morning.”  The sky is the color of stainless steel, a solid, opaque kind of sky that contrasts with the deep gray barren trees in the woods. I remembered how the black crow glided overhead in the early morning hours, just after dawn. “The crow always knows when the snow will be arriving.” I recalled.  I shivered as I began the steep climb up the soggy wet hill. The journey today was completed and I came back to where I began.  I still wear my faded orange T-shirt and black Capri pants that I wore to the gym this morning.  My feet snuggle deeper into the fuzzy pale lilac slippers. My toes feel warm against the soft fleece.

     This was the first day that things are getting back to normal at our house.  It’s solitary. My husband drove into town to buy some groceries. When he returns, we’ll fill the empty fruit bowls that are on the antique table, near the kitchen door.  Our refrigerator is cleaned out and ready for him to bring back the vegetable to fill it up again. Now that our holiday guests are gone we needed to restock our supply of food.

      Country music wafts through the interior of the warm house; it comes from the radio in the kitchen and fills the open spaces that surround me. Our two dogs are curled up for a long afternoon of comfort as they lay in their plush, round beds.   The cats are hidden away in solitary places, as they usually do during the day. We are all feeling tired after the busy, sometimes crazy holiday week we just completed.

      My husband and I have a large family and the children are all adults now, with children of their own. They all come home for Christmas most years. It is a rare Christmas that someone in the family is not here for a few days.  Yes, all together there were twenty one people celebrating Christmas together in this house. It all started the day after Christmas, December 26th, when our son and his family arrived from Maryland. In the following days, one by one, the cars and trucks pulled into the driveway and the occupants rolled out. They held armloads of children, wrapped gifts, and foods they had prepared for our time together.  There were lots of hugs as we greeted each other once again.  Our laughter and loud chatter filled up the house quickly with a cacophony of sounds.

     We went to bed early on New Year’s Eve. Around midnight we were vaguely aware of snapping and popping sounds coming from the local bar across the creek.  There was laughter and intermittent voices from the people who were celebrating the beginning of a new year together.   I turned over, pulled the cozy blue layer of blankets up around my head. I was content.  It’s the kind of contentment that elderly people like us have sometimes.  We encounter mysteries in the deep winter time when the ink black sky enfolds the hills in this valley with silent mists. It is on nights like this one when we stand outside in the cold darkness, gazing upwards to see if we can find the North Star.