Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I am the ship,

My billowing sails will hold, though tempests lash and tear!

The hungry waves in fury seek to rend me bow to stern, undaunted I remain...

My Captain steers our course into the sun.

I am the Light. Though monstrous shadows lurk with cunning guile,
And seek to shroud the way . . . to cow the self with phantoms of the night,

Courageously I shed my radiance . . .dispel the gloom.

I am the force That staunchly stands immovable and firm . . . foundations strong. Savagely protective . . . pliable . . . serene

I am the soul of adoration, weaving dreams of stardust , cosmic ecstacy.

I am the Alpha . . .the Omega . . . the dream . . . reality, that brings rich promise of eternities to come.

I am spirit led by love . . . your other self am I . . .
The song of hope that whispers in the breeze with soft caress, I beckon and entice towards mystic shores.

Aspiration by Ann Davies, 1943

Monday, May 28, 2007


The secret of beginning a life of deep awareness and sensitivity lies in our willingness to pay attention. Our growth as conscious, awake human beings is marked not so much by grand gestures and visible renunciations as by extending loving attention to the minutest particulars of our lives.
Every relationship, every thought, every gesture is blessed with meaning through the wholehearted attention we bring to it. In the complexities of our minds and lives we easily forget the power of attention, yet without attention we live only on the surface of existence.
It is just simple attention that allows us truly to listen to the song of a bird, to see deeply the glory of an autumn leaf, to touch the heart of another and be touched. We need to be fully present in order to love a single thing wholeheartedly. We need to be fully awake in this moment if we are to receive and respond to the learning inherent in it.

Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield, Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart, More on book, and order through Amazon

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Bishops Klusmeyer (W.Va.) and Curry (N.C.) arrive

Presiding Bishop
Katherine Jefferts-Schori listens to the preludes

Yesterday, in the nave of Washington Cathedral, Shannon S. Johnston was consecrated as Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Virginia.
The liturgical service was one of joy, solemnity, and beauty with a variety of musical contributions and including a traditional Anglican chant sung by those in attendance. Bishop Johnston will ultimately succeed Bishop Peter James Lee who will retire in 2010 and now leads 195 congregations of the Diocese of Virginia through a particularly stormy time of dealing with breakaway parish issues that have arisen as a result of the consecration of a gay bishop within The Episcopal Communion.

Johnston long time friend Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Bishop of Atlanta, delivered a bell-ringing sermon and reassured us all that the ordination of a new bishop is an act of faith and a sign of hope and it sends a message to the naysayers that "Our faith is strong and vigorous....we will not give up," He urged Shannon Johnston to follow the example of the first Bishop of Canterbury, whose feast we were celebrating, to witness to the Resurrection, and to "call us from things passing that a new creation is a present reality for those who are in Christ," continuing Jesus' mission of justice and mercy.

Alexander challenged him to faithfully serve the common good with words of encouragement and to boldly and relentlessly speak truth to power in the public square and in the church for those who are unable to speak in their own behalf, those whose voices are not heard: the hungry and the homeless, the sick and infirm and also "those who suffer from unrighteous discrimination because they are differently blessed."

Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori led the service while thirty Bishops from around the Communion encircled and laid hands on Johnston as he kneeled and then was presented to the congregation as he affirmed his consecration saying, "My spirit rejoices in God our savior!...My heart today is indeed very full."

To watch a webcast of the Consecration, available through the National Cathedral, click the blog title and scroll to 50 minutes to begin the service after the preludes. To go to the sermon scroll to 1 hour 50 minutes. This photo courtesy of AP

Magdalen friends, Eleanor from Vienna, Va. and Christopher from Philadelphia chat with Lewis (WA) before the service.

An informal reception was held in the Bishop's Garden

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007



Thou art the Supreme Light
Thou art the supreme light, and the eyes of the pure soul shall see Thee, and clouds of sin shall hide Thee from the eyes of sinners.

Thou art the light hidden in this world and revealed in the world of beauty, "In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen."

Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you." [Luke 11:36]

"I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light and of Peace, When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One." Namaste

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Grandma. Grandma. Music to my ears. I love the sound of these words. As I come through the door, the girls look up, and seeing me, they often come running toward me, with arms open and smiling. It melts my heart.


Yesterday we went for a ride in Northern Virginia. We stopped by the beachfront on the other side of the Harry Nice Bridge and enjoyed watching the fishermen and families along the edge of the water. One family began to form along the edge and their profiles were so interesting I reached for my camera and took a few shots.

They were young and vigorous, but as I listened to the play I heard the young boy cry out, "Grandma, Look!" They were picking up rocks and skipping them along on the surface of the water and his had been a success.


Retirement plans are forestalled, vacations rearranged: all for grandchildren. And these grandparents wouldn't want to have it any other way. It is their joy and satisfaction in life.

Thursday, May 17, 2007



The central feature of the bee hive is the honeycomb. This marvel of insect engineering consists of flat vertical panels of six-sided cells made of beeswax. Beeswax is produced from glands on the underside of the abdomens of worker bees when they are between 12 and 15 days old. House bees take the beeswax and form it with their mouths into the honeycomb. The cells within the comb will be used to raise young and to store honey and pollen.

The comb is two-sided, with cells on both sides. ....the cells are perfectly uniform in shape. Not only that, but the combs are built a precise distance apart depending on whether they are meant to contain food or young bees. The nursery area of the hive is called the brood comb, and that is where the queen lays her eggs.

(and from Wikipedia) Hives consist of a single queen bee, a seasonally variable number of drone bees to fertilize new queens and some 20,000 to 40,000 worker bees. The worker bees raise larvae and collect the nectar that will become honey in the hive. As they leave the flower, bees release
Nasonov pheromones. These enable other bees to find their way to the site by smell [10]. Honeybees also release Nasonov pheromones at the entrance to the hive, which enables returning bees to return to the proper hive[10]. It is believed by scientists that one reason for the collapse of colonies in the United States is that the bees are losing their ability to "sense" their direction and return to the hives. Picture is courtesy of Wikipedia.


From last night's Anderson Cooper 360 degrees: (Photo courtesy of Richard Fuller)

...researchers say up to one-third of all the honeybees in the United States have vanished. And no one knows why exactly. Scientists are scrambling to explain the sudden, mysterious die-off of honeybee hives -- something they've named "Colony Collapse Disorder" -- before it gets worse. (These)....experts say honeybees are responsible for one-third of all the food we eat; and according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, they add $15 billion to the bottom line of the agriculture industry.

(Anderson Cooper and his staff)...traveled to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, to meet the man who first sounded the alarm about the mystery and pressured the government to investigate. In the course of two months, he says he lost some 80 million bees -- 2,000 of his hives. And he's not alone. Beekeepers in more than 25 states and Canadian provinces are reporting major losses, too.

....(at) the USDA Bee Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, and Penn State University (scientists) are performing bee autopsies and DNA work. (And they)....are looking at a combination of a relatively new insecticide along with an increase in bee viruses. It's a one-two punch that weakens the bees' immune systems and leaves them susceptible to pathogens. They expect to announce preliminary findings in the next few weeks.

And while some of the affected hives seem to be improving, experts at the USDA say that is because there is more food available for the bees during the warm spring. They warn it's still too early to tell whether America's honeybees can overcome this mysterious disorder.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun's kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze.
~Julian Grenfell

Morning Spring Breeze, adapted from original poem by R.L. Stevenson

Up with the sun, the breeze arose,
Across the lake from my repose,
Gentle she rustles far and wide
To stir my dearest at my side.

Throughout the morning tale she tells;
Both gull and geese her strength repels
But then within each rhythmic swell
They turn again and forward sail.

God calls us, and the day prepares
With these sublime and gracious airs:
I take my refuge in their flights
These are the Spring's most holy rites.

I bask inside this womb of earth.
Where with the morning came rebirth
God calls me from inglorious ease,

Forth to travel with the breeze

Monday, May 14, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Today my husband, Lewis, and I attended a ceremony in which a Magdalen Pub friend became
an Oblate of St. Benedict, having associated herself
with the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia.

The intention of oblation is to "be concerned about striving to be a daughter or son of God and a temple of the Holy Spirit. This means that an Oblate offers one’s self (the meaning of the word “oblate”) for the service of God and others to the best of one’s ability.....(carrying) out the usual duties of one’s particular state in life, wherever one is, continuing whatever profession or occupation in life one has by caring for - family, friends and others."

One of the Sister's spent time with those of us who attended and supported the Oblates in their commitment process and shared at length about the community and its work. My husband went along with a group and another Sister for a walk through the "Place of Peace."

The monastary is located in the gentle rolling hills of Virginia, near Manassas and "A Place of Peace" now includes an eleven-circuit labyrinth, a beautiful setting among cedars of the Stations of the Cross, extended wildflower and perennial gardens, two farm silos that have been transformed by large stained glass windows as symbols of peace, along with an ancient grotto.

We both found the community to be warm, open, and spiritually refreshing and we enjoyed the opportunity to be with our friends from the Magdalen Pub.

At right are Magdalen pub-sibs Grace, Susan (Benedictine Oblate), myself, and Eleanor in a group photo (courtesy of Eleanor).

Friday, May 11, 2007


Mother's Day 2006

My mother is gone now. Gone since October. I miss her a lot sometimes. Something inside me misses her, although it is hard to describe exactly how I feel this. Fortunately for me, I have a sense of completion about our relationship.

That was not always the case. We had a breach in our relationship that happened when I was about ten years of age. It was a result of the stress of my father's illness on each of us. We withdrew from one another. It was a matter of coping. I felt sorry for her and she felt helpless and at a loss as to how to fix what was going wrong between us.

Even though this was happening and continued over the next thirty years at least, we never directly talked about it. I could not because I did not want to talk about the feelings and I did not want to make her feel more anxious and criticise in any way. I realized always how much she was doing, how fully she filled her difficult shoes, and the fragility of our lives during the months of my father's illnesses and times between.

Eight years ago she came to live with me and my husband. She called me one day, as had been our agreement, and told me that she thought the time had come. She could no longer really care for herself; her friends were overwhelmed with some of her needs and could no longer be a sufficient social cushion and support. Her mind was "going." She was having difficulty concentrating and keeping her life straight. She was no longer safe driving herself.

So we drove the U-Haul to her Senior Apartment in Ohio, with our two older sons in tow, and helped her move to our home. Her friends and neighbors helped. I arranged a celebration in her honor so that she could say a proper goodby and within days she was the newest member of our family.

It was a tough adjustment. My mom was a messy sort of person. I am an orderly home-body: a bit over-concerned about cleanliness if anything. She seldom washed her hands and would leave a virtual trail behind her in her going from task to task. She was a cook, had even been a cook for her living at one time, and we were commonly eater-outers.

She wanted to cook for us. And more than anything else, she wanted to "sit and visit." Her sitting and visiting was often an experience of hearing the rendition of stories that I had heard many times before in my life: stories about her family whom she loved dearly. She was the epitome of the holder of oral tradition. Detail, after detail. Day in and day out. The more she loved a family member the more she could remember the tiniest of interactions with them. Family life of sixty and seventy years before. She could tell you the weather, who was there, what they said, what they looked like and describe the scene so that you could picture it clearly in your own mind. Her stories, while fascinating, wore me out. As much as I wanted to show respect for her and patience to listen, my tolerance would quickly be reached.

We made a way of life together that worked for her and for my husband and myself. We spent a lot of time at our office. She learned to go on with her life at the house without us and to not focus her life so much on ours. We developed some patterns and rhythms. Going to the store. How to arrange the kitchen cabinets. How to keep the bathrooms in order. How to stay out of each other's way. Often there was less social time than she would have liked. Other times, we had much fun and spirited sharing together, sometimes involving the extended family and visits with grandchildren and eventually great-grandchildren.

She took absolutely no interest in our church family. "I don't like that kind of church!" said it quite plainly. Another issue was that she had problems with bladder control and it made her ill at ease socially.
She virtually refused to put herself in a position of being embarassed by having an accident with strangers present. At least, I was soon to learn, she would take some of these risks with me and we could have an emergency kit with us at all times so that we could safely make trips to the grocery or other events such as a concert.
She liked going to my son's church. It was a contemporary service, with gospel groups, music flashed on walls, and a walk in atmosphere so that those who attended could even bring drinks with them to their seats. It was a wonderfully spiritual process, with prayer and liturgy crafted to bring the group together in worship. On one occasion, as she was taking a fast trip to the restroom, her underclothes literally fell down around her ankles. The minister, who loved my mother dearly, and was especially fond of her as the most senior member of the congregation, helped her along and made sure she was able to save face but both ended laughing aloud when my mother made a good joke of it. She had a great sense of humor and laughed easily.

There were seven major surgeries, including open heart, hip replacement and a resection of her colon because of cancer. Extended cancer care. Difficult transitions. But mother was tough and brave and she almost always kept a positive attitude and "can do" approach to recovery. When she was given the final diagnosis of stage three/four cancer she even found a way to face her final trial in life with dignity and compassion for others.
This is when we bonded the most deeply. I was caring for her everyday, seeing to her most intimate needs. We had already talked through our issues and I had come to understand her way of dealing with the stress we had endured. But seeing her decline and maintain her reserve and face the daily demands of cancer progression, I came to finally recognize more fully her gentility, her kindness, her big heart and how it had been broken in our early lives together.

We had never had words, except for a couple of times in my childhood. There was little reason to discipline me, because I was generally spirited but definitely obedient. And she did not need to run a tight, tight ship and respected my personhood. She loved being with us daily and provided an amazingly secure environment for my brother and me even through the worst of life trials.

And she loved my father dearly, illness and all.

She was a great lady. And I do miss her. But I feel good about how we ended our journey together and while I don't know exactly the qualities of the spirit life she has entered I do know that she is safely in the hands of her Lord, the One she truly followed and loved as best she could.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Farmer's Market, Hughesville

Amish and Mennonite Outdoor Market, Southern Maryland Regional Library

Charles County Barns

Monday, May 7, 2007

Bird Songs at Dawn

The last few weeks we have been able to leave our windows open in our home. The morning symphony of numerous birds awakens us. I have been so moved by these morning greetings that I decided I would try to find a poem and some pictures that might capture them.

I looked and looked and then I had a memory of singing a choral work from the Australian Bush which replicated the morning sounds of birds in its lyrics. The Maryland Choral Society, under the Artistic Direction of Jason Gotshall, sang Iain Grandage's Three Australian Bush Songs just a few seasons ago. I looked around online and found a section of the work that captures the sounds of the Australian Kookaburra (above), Currawongs (below), and Cicada. This section, Dawn and Birds, is sung by the Dawson County High School Chamber Chorus. I recommend its sound to you. You may have to click again the proper title listing after clicking the site below.

Three Australian Bush Songs

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Yard Sale

The last few weeks we have been preparing ourselves to detach from our "belongings". They so "belong" that they have been with us for our several decades together: my husband's chest of drawers from his high school years, a small cherry stand that was a part of my bedroom set when I was a young girl. All in all, in the world's valuing: about three hundred and thirty-five dollars worth of something.

In our valuing they had been worth much more: so much that we had moved them hundreds of miles and from state to state, not wanting to part with them. Heart truth be told, we still don't.

Some of the items we sold, if you could call it really a sale and not a giveaway of sorts, were my mother's. They were the hardest for me and I put many of them in a pile labeled "free". I enjoyed watching folks sorting through and taking these little treasures with them as they slipped into their cars and drove away.

The greatest blessings of the day were the friends and family who came and helped us with the project. They were sensitive and aware. They realize this is a life event and were gentle with their suggestions and generous with their time. They nudged and listened and sat and stood as docents in our yard, gathering in the nickels and dimes.

A Japanese neighbor girl came by twice with her mom. She was brought in her stroller, but timidly walked over to peruse the lawn blanket covered with stuffed toys. She chose one and showed her mom who gave her a quarter to pass along. It was a big task for her. She hesitated, almost to a complete stop, in the process. She must have felt the better for it because when mother circled back and the little girl stopped again, she quickly chose a smaller animal from off the blanket, and passed a nickel this time with hardly a wrinkle of emotional distress!

Other stuffed animals, carefully chosen by Lewis and me decades ago for our young children, found new doggy homes. Real doggy homes. Human doggy owners lovingly checked out the toys to make sure they would not be a mess when doggy teeth would finally wear through the fabrics and stitching. One stuffed animal, a fox, was an immediate hit. Very soft and pliable. So did a lamb with a bell and long legs.
The fox was one I had bought for Lewis at some happy young moment in our lives: Lewis is the fox in our magic forest.
I am the duck. I was named the duck by my friend Dale. Dale, the whale, has been gone now for twenty-some years. Dale's wife Jan, the squirrel, works in a library out West. A squirrel will always make a good librarian.
We lived in a magic forest together once. We had a story book with ourselves in it as characters. That was Dale the Whale's idea. He was a good story-teller. Such a good story-teller that he went full time and became a preacher.
So, when the doggy mother took the fox: I remembered us all then. Our magic forest. Our laughter and friendship.

Memories were being sold by the minute yesterday morning.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Sailors believe that red sunsets are a sign of better weather tomorrow.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


I am an incurable romantic
I believe in hope, dreams and decency
I believe in love,
Tenderness and kindness.

I believe in mankind.
I believe in goodness,
Mercy and charity

I believe in a universal spirit
I believe in casting bread
Upon the waters.

I am awed by the snow-capped mountains
By the vastness of oceans.

I am moved by a couple
Of any age – holding hands
As they walk through city streets.

A living creature in pain
Makes me shudder with sorrow
A seagull’s cry fills me
With a sense of mystery.

A river or stream
Can move me to tears
A lake nestling in a valley
Can bring me peace.

Leonard Nimoy

"High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Magee was a teenage poet when he wrote "High Flight." Magee died in his Spitfire on December 11, 1941 at the age of 19, just a few weeks after penning the poem.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds -- and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --
wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.
Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.


Mountain Laurel

Within our laurel's blooms I spy by chance
two catbirds, improvising ear to ear,
as each upon the other's art descants.
I stand in awe of how the two cohere.
Aware of me, perhaps, they flush, and clear
the laurel, soaring to our neighbor's orchard
and leave the scrawny poet in me tortured.

leland jamieson (click blog title to go to home page)
In all the years we lived in the mountains of West Virginia, one of the most cherished experiences I have is of becoming familiar with Mountain Laurel. It thrives throughout the woodlands there. It is such a delicate pink flowering plant and has blooms are that are so beautifully structured and intricate.

Gray Catbird courtesy of

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Many years ago, one Easter Sunday morning when my husband and I lived in Barboursville, W.Va., and had a small three year old son, a young neighbor girl of ours paid us a Sunday visit. She was dressed in a simple pastel dress, was wearing matching heels and short white gloves. She was also carrying her Bible and had just come from church.
She came by to wish us a happy Easter. She was warm and her intentions filled our life with her sweetness for a while on that Spring day. We were away from family and friends, having moved to a new home in a faraway place. We were touched and reassured by her gentle presence.
I have often wondered, if I could do my life over again, just what one thing would I change? My answer, and it always remains the same as I ponder the thought: I would learn to be more of a "lady." To have more manners, to be more thoughtful, more serene, and polite.
I would enjoy even more the feminine things: dresses, babies, flowers, scents, giggles, and a lightness of being. I would not want to be one of those "as-if" ladies who wear their appearance of femininity as a mask for a heartless drive to power. I'd just want to be softer and lighter, more serene and gracious than I am, like the young girl that Easter morning.
These days I enjoy seeing these traits develop in my granddaughters in the encouraging arms of their mother. She carefully does their little nails and puts the matching bows in their hair. She insists that they mind their manners and learn to share. She always speaks well of them and offers a gentle embrace. Today's blog is to honor young ladies, their beauty, innocence and joy of life.

I pray that the world will become safer for them all.




You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
To-morrow ’ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year;
Of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest merriest day,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

Little Effie shall go with me to-morrow to the green,
And you’ll be there, too, mother, to see me made the Queen;
For the shepherd lads on every side ’ill come from far away,
And I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.
The honeysuckle round the porch has woven its wavy bowers,
And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers;
And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows gray,
And I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

The night-winds come and go, mother, upon the meadow-grass,
And the happy stars above them seem to brighten as they pass;
There will not be a drop of rain the whole of the livelong day,
And I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

All the valley, mother, ’ill be fresh and green and still,
And the cowslip and the crowfoot are over all the hill,
And the rivulet in the flowery dale ’ill merrily glance and play,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.
So you must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear,
To-morrow ’ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year;
To-morrow ’ill be of all the year the maddest merriest day,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.