Thursday, June 28, 2007


There's a sweet, sweet spirit in this place
And I know that it's the spirit of the Lord
There are sweet expressions on each face
And I know that it's the presence of the Lord
Sweet Holy Spirit
Sweet heavenly dove
Stay right here with us
Filling us with your love
And for these blessings
We lift our hearts in praise

Isaiah declares, "The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


For two decades our family has lived near this farm in White Plains, Maryland. It was always reassuring to me to pass by it because it is so much like farms in Ohio, my childhood home. The changes of the seasons would come and go, and I would quietly mark the subtle differences in the trees, wildlife, crops, and even the wild flowers along its pastures. Quite recently the farm was sold to developers.

This may be its last season of productivity as farm land. I grieve the inevitable changes as do many passersby, who along with me have enjoyed the changing seasons on the farm.

Today, I happened to come by when the workers were harvesting the grain. I remember when they first plowed and seeded in the Spring. I took pictures shortly after the green shoots came up and cast their color on the contours of the farm.

I hope you will enjoy these photographs as much as I enjoyed taking them. ..........Sharon

A tractor makes its way along the fence line
And drops the seeds precisely in a row
If the rains are kind and the winds don't take the topsoil
Before too long the crops will start to show.

The farmer sees the fields around him growin'
He whispers something low beneath his breath
Perhaps a little prayer to help the growin'
Perhaps a word of thanks for all the rest.

A baby child is born along the highway
A tiny little thing upon the land
An okie with his dreams out on the byway
Lifts the tiny baby in his hand

The woman smiles a little smile of knowing
And whispers something softly in his ear
Perhaps a little prayer to help the growing
Perhaps a word of comfort through the fears.

There's a storm tossed ship tonight out on the ocean
There's a soul somewhere adrift out on the blue
There's a dreamer with his eyes upon the heavens
They're all looking for a way to make it through.

You trust the moon to move the mighty ocean
You trust the sun to shine upon the land
You take the little that you know
And you do the best you can
And you leave the rest to the quiet faith of man.
Bill Staines


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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Child Of Mine
Bill Staines

Child of mine, you are the wildest wind and the dearest dream
I will ever know.
Love's lasting light shines out from deep within this father's heart
As I watch you grow.
Child of mine, you are the break of dawn and the brightest star
I will ever know
Love's lasting light comes shining on and on from this mother's heart
As I watch you grow

There is a road, and that road is all your own
But we are here, you need not walk alone.
To face, not fear each coming new unknown
Is the way to lift your wings

Child of mine, you are the sweetest song and the greatest gift
I will ever know.
Child of mine, where spirits fly above there is but one
that belongs to you.
So let it grow and it will thrive on love
For it is love that sees us through

You have the hands that will open up the doors
You have the hopes this world is waiting for
You are my own, but you are so much more
You are tomorrow on the wing,
Child of mine.
lyrics by Asaya Barnwell, Sweet Honey in the Rock
For each child that’s born,
a morning star rises
and sings to the universe
who we are
We are our grandmothers’ prayers
We are our grandfathers’ dreamings
We are the breath of the ancestors
We are the spirit of God
We are
Mothers of courage
Father of time
Daughters of dust
The sons of great visions
Sisters of mercy
Brothers of love
Lovers of life
Builders of nations
Seekers of truth
Keepers of faith
Makers of peace
Wisdom of ages
We are one.

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.


....The open sky, the brown earth, the leafy tree, the golden sand, the blue water, the stars in their courses and the awareness of these.
Birdsong, butterflies, clouds, and rainbows. Sunlight, moonlight, firelight.
A large hand reaching down for a small hand. Impromptu praise, an unexpected kiss, a straight answer.
The gift of enthusiasm and a sense of wonder. Long days to be merry in and nights without fear. and most of all,
The memory of a good home.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. Elizabeth Stone

There is no stronger need in childhood, than the need for a father's protection. S. Freud.
She's got her Father's eyes, her Father's eyes: Eyes that find the good in things,
When good is not around.
Eyes that find the source of help,
When help just can't be found.
Eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain. Knowin' what you're going through,
and feeling it the same.
Just like my Father's eyes,
my Father's eyes. Amy Grant

Blessed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father. Lydia M. Child, in Philothea

Father and Daughter

If you leap awake
In the mirror of a bad dream
And for a fraction of a second
You can't remember where you are
Just open your window
And follow your memory upstream
To the meadow in the mountain
Where we counted every falling star

I believe the light that shines on you
Will shine on you forever
And though I can't guarantee
There's nothing scary hiding under your bed
I’m gonna stand guard
Like a postcard of a Golden Retriever
And never leave till I leave you
With a sweet dream in your head
I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
Who loved his daughter more than I love you

Trust your intuition
It's just like going fishing
You cast your line
And hope you'll get a bite
But you don't need to waste your time
Worrying about the market place
Try to help the human race
Struggling to survive its harshest night

I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
Who loved his daughter more than I love you

Paul Simon

Friday, June 15, 2007


As some of you know, we have a house full of animals: four doves, two cats, a Quaker parakeet, a dog, two canaries, and some fish at the office. In addition, we live across from a lake in a little wooded area with birds of all shapes and sizes.
Our cats and dog have always had an active sibling relationship. Our oldest cat is 19 years old and she has a definite "stay to herself personality." She has always been this way, but will come and warm up when we are very quiet. The other cat and our dog respect this and give her wide berth.
We feed the wood ducks frequently and they come over to our yard and pay us a visit every morning and sometimes later during the day. We also go to visit their various families at the lake whenever our granddaughters come over, and at other times when we have a few minutes. Mika, our dog, always goes along. Over the months the ducks have come to know that they can trust Mika to hang around and not be a problem for them. Occasionally she will playfully scamper toward them, but this is rare. The ducklings are now learning to trust Mika also. Each fall the mature ducks move on to other lakes and streams and the young ones stay behind to winter over and raise their own new babies the next year. We faithfully feed them through the cold winter months, as do most of our neighbors.
Our cats give space to our birds, although our younger cat does like to annoy the canaries by poking her paws in their cage. I guess you could call it play time.
So we have many of those moments of encounter in our animal family world: watching the first hello, the thoughtful pause, waiting for trust to be established.
These pictures that I have found on the internet in a variety of places captures some of the essence of animal relationships. I hope you enjoy them.
Thanks to for several of the pictures.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Deep friendships that have lasted a life time. Friendships that have spanned a continent with unspeakable losses that frame their innocence and wonder. Grace-filled days. Music filled nights and weekends. Back-yard carry-in dinners at friend's homes. Babies. Kindergarten. God-parents. Sharing of family ties. Flower and vegetable gardens. Workouts and saunas. Running and walking. Tennis. Afternoons in the Park. Music festivals. Exploring our pasts and deepening our present. Fixing our cars. Birthdays and breakups. Leaving and being left. Tears, laughter and personal triumphs.

Yesterday morning I had an opportunity, when Lewis and I were picking up some potting soil and half-price mulch, to listen to a track from a CD of an old dear friend of mine.

Her name is Sallie. I haven't seen her face for many years now, but I hear from her still and I think of her often. Christmas before last she sent me her latest CD. We were once in a strong friendship circle. There was Debbie, Ruth, and Betty and all the men. Boyfriends and husbands. And more.

We worked together and learned our craft of therapy together. Our lives moved on. Decisions were made. For Sallie, it was the West that called her, where the "rivers change direction, across the Great Divide." Sallie and I loved to sing harmony and play instruments together.

She was the original Song Catcher. She went to all the festivals in West Virginia for many years and made friends with Hazel Dickens and others who sang the way my mother sang, the shaped note songs, the passed down musical traditions that can be traced back to their Celtic roots. In her group's CD she sings them perfectly, the exact inflections of rhythm, the nuances of harmony and wording. I am but a connoiseur and enjoy the singing and the songs. She is the real artist.

I wanted her to stay. It was so hard to say goodbye. I cried and cried. Just as I did when Debbie left. And when we moved away ourselves.

My primary craft at the time was my work as a therapist, developing and directing a child mental health service, teaching family therapy technique with eager learners as my colleagues. We were each other's teachers, and serious about it. We did not compete but revelled in each other's growth and change.

We each moved on. But the grief went deep. And yesterday morning I cried for a long spell as I listened to Sallie's sweet and clear voice. I put the track on repeat and listened over and over again as she sang these words:

Leaves are falling and turning in showers of gold
As the postman climbs up our long hill
There's sympathy written all over his face
As he hands me a couple more bills.

Who will watch the home place
Who will tend my heart's dear space
Who will fill my empty place
When I am gone from here.
There's a lovely green nook by a clear running stream
It was my place when I was quite small
And its creatures and sounds would soothe my worst fears
but today they don't ease me at all.


In my grandfather's shed there are hundreds of tools.
I know them by feel and by name.
And like parts of my body they've patched this old place
When I move them they won't be the same.
Now I wander around touching each precious thing
The chimney, the tables, the trees
And my memories swirl 'round me like birds on a wing
When I leave here, oh, who will I be

Who will watch the home place
Who will tend my heart's dear space
Who will fill my empty place
When I am gone from here

Music lyrics, courtesy of Laurie Lewis, click title above to hear and farm pictures are of my Grandfather's farm...
Click here and listen to Wild Coyotes, Sallie's band, play on WV public radio show
and here is the http// address:

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Lynchburg, the town where I grew up in Highland County, Ohio, was a robust community at the turn of the twentieth century, much because of a successful distillary that was located there. However, the economic times were soon to change, when the local women's temperence union was successful in obtaining political pressure to remove the distillary from the area. If you click on the letter written by the owners of the distillary in 1915 warning of the economic impact, you will see that they were saying they were not so much interested in selling it locally as they were interested in exporting it. These local church women, some possibly from the church pictured below, won the day. The rest, as they say, is history. click Crusades to learn more

Today the WCTU is the oldest voluntary, non-sectarian woman's organization in continuous existence in the world. The WCTU is a founding member (1888) of the National Council for Women (Frances Willard was its first president) and the International Council of Women in 1893.

The gray-toned picture was taken after part of the distillary was converted to a feed mill (Ewing's) Below are my junior high school, the local Christian church, and a recent downtown scene. The other feedmill picture below and taken more recently is much more similar to how it looked when I was there in the 50-60's. By that time it still functioned as a feed mill. The building in front was the locker where we kept our frozen meat that we had butchered.

These last pictures were taken after the turn of the 21st Century by a photographer whose family is from Lynchburg, along with a picture I found of the new local library. I am very happy to read of how large and active the library is. When I was a girl growing up that is where I spent many of my afternoons. Mrs. Wilt, the librarian, was always helping me discover new good books. The covered bridge was on our route home to the farm from town and now the road has been re-routed to help form a park.