I Am Soul – A Blog Tour

October 16, 2018

Welcome to SCAN

Hosted by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Post #136

Our Guest Author today is

Yecheilyah  Ysrayl 

Also known as EC…

EC, It is wonderful to have you here today as our Guest Author.

 

Bio.

Yecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed EC) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet and lives in Marietta, GA with her wonderful husband. She has been writing poetry since she was twelve years old and joined the UMOJA Poetry Society in High School where she learned to perfect her craft. In 2010, at 23 years-old, Yecheilyah published her first collection of poetry and in 2014, founded Literary Korner Publishing and The PBS blog where she enjoys helping other authors through her blog interviews and book reviews. The PBS Blog has been named among Reedsy’s Best Book Review blogs of 2017 and 2018 and has helped many authors in their writing journey. I am Soul is her fourth collection of poetry.

LET THE TRUTH BE

Like fire shut up in my bones,

sizzling on my tongue

and falling from my mouth,

Let it enter my throat like singing

and into my bones like oil.

Let me bathe in its humility

and cover myself in its wisdom.

Let the truth

be

born.

Fun Facts about Yecheilyah:

  • She loves to laugh, and her favorite comedy TV show is Blackish
  • She is originally from Chicago, IL
  • She’s been married to her husband 8 years, together for 11 years
  • She believes eggs makes everything better
  • She is a twin
  • She is addicted to reading and new notebooks
  • Her favorite desert is ice cream

I am Soul is now available on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Scribd and The Medu Bookstore at Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta.

Universal Amazon Link

mybook.to/Yecheilyah

Universal Link to other Retailers

https://www.books2read.com/u/4Xoyp9

Greenbriar Mall

The Medu Bookstore

2841 Greenbriar Pkwy SW

Atlanta, GA 30331

Author Website: www.yecheilyahysrayl.com/

Blog: www.thepbsbog.com

Amazon Author Central: www.amazon.com/Yecheilyah-Ysrayl/e/B00ML6OHFA/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/literarykornerpublishing

Instagram: www.instagram.com/yecheilyah/

Twitter: twitter.com/ahouseofpoetry

YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCdquShfqCN6lIX8IDK9MnSg

When Night Comes – a Chapbook

I wrote this review of a chapbook by Tennessee Poet, Wes Sims. This lovely book of poetry was published in Campbell’s World, a blog owned  by another Tennessee author, Patty Fletcher.  Thank you, Patty, for your interest in writing and promotion of so many authors.

 

READING WITH THE AUTHORS:

Author Lynda McKinney Lambert Reviews

When Night Comes

Good morning Bookworms everywhere.
After having taken a couple personal days off, Campbell and I are back in action here in campbellsworld.
This morning I’ve a treat for you.
Author Lynda McKinney Lambert is back in our Reading With the Authors column with a review of a poetry that has made even me want to read it.
I’m not one to read such a book as is described here but after reading this review and having read a bit of Lynda’s original work well I have to consider the source and agree to give it a try.
Now I invite you to read Lynda’s thoughts here, and then maybe share a few of your own.
For sure share this post with your friends and make certain to read all about how to find her books before you go.

 

When Night Comes

by Wesley Sims
A Book Review by Lynda McKinney Lambert

I met poet Wes Sims one Sunday morning while reading my weekly issue of a poetry magazine, The Weekly Avocet,  published by Charles Portolano, features poetry that has a nature theme. In one particular issue, I encountered 3 Haiku poems by Sims. Each intrigued me for he presented new ways of looking at something ordinary. The nature-themed poems caught my attention. Since Mr. Portolano encourages his writers to drop a note to other poets and to make friends with them, I sent a note to Wes Sims to say how much I enjoyed his poems.

Eventually, I learned about Wes Sims’ poetry chapbook, “When Night Comes,” because he sent me a copy. I’ve enjoyed reading this 28-page chapbook. It is a collection of twenty-four poems. You can purchase it directly from Wes Sims by contacting him – he will even sign it for you!  (I’ve included his E-mail at the end of this essay.)

The chapbook’s cover is a moody black and white photo of a nocturnal landscape by the author. I thought “This is the perfect image for this collection of poems.” In addition to writing poetry, Sims likes to do photography. I found that the all-seeing-eye of the photographer is apparent in the poems, as I read through this collection. He sees and speaks of little details that might go unnoticed. It is in the description of the little things that we are brought into Sims’ world through his poems.

In “How to Use a Shoebox,” Wes Sims gives us his secret intention for writing:
“the impact of little things preserved” (p.4)

The mostly one-page poems are created by building up layers of finely nuanced accumulations. Sims is actively viewing and preserving as he writes the poems.. Minute images are intertwined with his personal and private memories as he has known them in rural Tennessee.

Sims describes his world – the present and the distant or even the historical past of his rural landscapes in Tennessee. Reading through the poems brings the reader right into his family circle. This is the place where Past and Present merge. The poem becomes a confluence in which time is collapsed. The individuals he presents are not generalized people, but they are family and they are named.

“grandson; grandmother; Mr. Newman; Sister; Dad; Mother; Uncle Bo; Mrs.. Engle…”

This gives us a feeling that we know them personally or that we have just met them even though many of the people who populate his poems are no longer in this world.

But, more than this Sims gives us a deeper understanding of life as he has known it – and we feel like we, too, have lived this life. In the poem, “Eyes to See,” he speaks of watching a blind man…

“Until one day, when I saw
Him in a church setting
Heard his lips sing out in prayer,
And received my revelation—
I was a blind man, too.”
(from “Eyes to See,” p. 24)

Through the book we see deserted old rundown barns and abandoned empty sheds; time-worn, rarely travelled roads up into the hills; and the last days of people who have passed away. No matter where we live or what our life is like, we relate to Wes Sims and his reflections on particular individuals, rural life, death of loved ones;, flowers, dogs, songs, snakes, music, personal memory and history. We know that our lives are enriched by the small things and places we encounter over a lifetime. It all adds up, in the end. Unimportant and trivial things really do matter.

You can find this chapbook for sale on the publishers website:

Buy it at Finishing Line Press, Link here!to read more.
Also available directly from Wes Sims at:   wes4words@att.net

_____

Meet Lynda McKinney Lambert.  Owner of this blog, SCAN.

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems
© 2017 by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Pennsylvania artist, teacher, and author Lynda McKinney Lambert invites readers into her world of profound sight loss to discover the subtle nuances and beauty of a physical and spiritual world. She takes strands from ancient mythology, history, and contemporary life and weaves a richly textured new fabric using images that are seen and unseen as she takes us on a year-long journey through the seasons.
All stories in this book were created after her sudden sight loss in 2007 from Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. Lambert invites us to see the world with new eyes.
Available in e-book ($3.99) and print ($14.95) from Amazon, Smashwords, and other sellers. Full details, free 20% text preview, and buying links: http://www.dldbooks.com/lyndalambert/
Edited by David and Leonore H. Dvorkin of DLD Books: http://www.dldbooks.com/
Cover layout by David Dvorkin / Cover photo and back cover text by the author

 

 

Just SCAN it!

Just  SCAN It!

SCAN: A blog

written by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

A quiet Place of Inspiration – We Love Literature!

 

 In 2018, I AM ABIDING 

WHAT DOES it mean

~ to abide?

This is my ONE WORD for 2018.  I won’t be doing anything in a RUSH. I’m taking my TIME and WAITING to publish  special articles that will encourage you and lift your spirit.

I’ll SHARE  thoughtful articles and I’ll share the work of other notable writers, editors, authors, and artists on my pages.

Thank you for visiting with us today.

SCAN (the blog) ~ created

by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

 

Why call the blog, SCAN?

Let’s have a LOOK at the word SCAN.

 SCAN  is a verb and a noun

Definition of scan for English Language Learners

  • : to look at (something) carefully usually in order to find someone or something

  • : to look over or read (something) quickly

  • : to look at the inside of (something) by using a special machine

I am a visual artist and author who is visually impaired. Everything I do depends on the use  of equipment that is developed for BLIND and VISUALLY IMPAIRED users.

 

Scan

(quoted from dictionary dot com)

 

14 Definitions of the word, SCAN:

 

verb (used with object), scanned, scanning.

1.

to glance at or over or read hastily:

to scan a page. 

The purpose of this blog will be to TAKE A LONGER LOOK at LITERATURE, AUTHORS, BOOKS, ARTISTS, and ART. We love LITERATURE and ART here at SCAN. 

to examine the particulars or points of minutely; scrutinize.

3.

to peer out at or observe repeatedly or sweepingly, as a large expanse;survey.

4.

to analyze (verse) as to its prosodic or metrical structure; read or recite(verse) so as to indicate or test the metrical form.

5.

to read (data) for use by a computer or computerized device, especially usingan optical scanner.

6.

Television. to traverse (a surface) with a beam of light or electrons in order toreproduce or transmit a picture.

7.

Radar. to traverse (a region) with a beam from a radar transmitter.

verb (used without object), scanned, scanning.

8.

to examine the meter of verse.

9.

(of verse) to conform to the rules of meter.

10.

Television. to scan a surface or the like.

SCAN as a noun

11..

an act or instance of scanning; close examination.

12..

a visual examination by means of a television camera, as for the purpose ofmaking visible or relaying pictures from a remote place:

a satellite scan of the dark side of the moon; video scans of property listingsavailable to customers.

13.

a particular image or frame in such video observation or a photograph made from it.

14.

a blog written by Lynda McKinney Lambert

 Meet Miss Opal. She is my writing companion and together WE SCAN the BEST BOOKS and INVITE the BEST AUTHORS to TELL THEIR STORIES on our blog, SCAN. 

IF YOU are an AUTHOR with a recently published book – in the past 2 years –

 

Miss Opal & Lynda

want you to tell your story

on SCAN.

Visit our INVITATION PAGE to learn more about how YOU can be our special guest on

“Saturday is for SHARING” feature.

Click Here to get your INVITATION NOW

Contact Lynda and Miss Opal at:  riverwoman@zoominternet.net

 

 

 

 

_____

Brought to you by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

Visit me at Lynda Lambert’s Website

Find my latest book at 

My Authors Page.

 

Be My Guest: Francine Kohn

My Special Guest Blogger

for MAY  ~ 2016

 Francine Kohn

California  Artist

 

For each guest blogger, I ask just one question.  “What is on your mind?”

My guests are free to write about whatever they want to say in response to my invitation. Thank you, Francine, for your Guest Blog!

I was raised in Long Beach, California where I have been inspired by a love of bright
colors, dynamic movements of water, and vibrant energy.

In my art, I envision life as colored energy patterns and I use the convergence of matter and spirit to create  form.  I like to  show others how they too can affect real changes in their lives by using their own personal tools and resources.

My artwork  invites you to join me in
connecting with your inner spark and making real changes in your life.
I worked with 3-year old children  and teens who are considered to be at-risk, as well as retired individuals.

This wide variety of experiences laid the groundwork for overcoming a life-threatening event in my personal  life.  I had a form of paralysis from the ribs down.  My  right hand turned into a claw and I experiences significant sight loss in my  right eye; it was  legally blind.

I will share my experiences  when I am a guest blogger in May.

I will relate the personal tools and perception I used and you can use them also to work with the medical professionals for the highest outcome. Discover how I  transformed a death sentence to create a life and relationships prior to event s that challenged me  to enter a life of joy  most of the time!

Visit this blog by clicking here:

“Art & Healing” blog http://www.francinekohnart.com/art–healing-blog.html

Bio for Francine Kohn:

Francine Kohn lives in Southern California.

Francine’s moving art paintings have been exhibited nationally and collected internationally.  She has been interviewed on 3 television shows.
As a teacher and healer, she develops original curriculum inviting
freedom to create, reaffirming the magic and the power of art and
healing to influence perception and understanding.
Francine Kohn Art

 

Photo16_FrancineKohn

Below you will find a quote from a testimonial by  Joni Yacoe, MFT, concerning  Francine working with at-risk teens.

_____

 

Of all the work I have done with troubled teenagers, I feel Ms.
Kohn’s project brought out more self-esteem and pride than I have seen
with other modalities.  It was challenging and difficult enough that
they were impressed with their completed work…They were able to
express feelings and how they saw themselves in a form that allowed
them to drop a lot of their defenses.  They were delighted and
somewhat embarrassed by their accomplishment as it took them out of
their comfort zone and allowed them to experience themselves as
creative young people, instead of “problem teenagers.

 

 

This Guest Blog

by Invitation

of Lynda McKinney  Lambert

_____

Lynda’s Bio:

Lynda McKinney Lambert – author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage” published by  Kota Press. To order, click here:  Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage

Lynda  authors two blogs on writing, the humanities, arts and faith.
She is a freelance writer; her work appears in numerous books and literary journals.  She is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities (Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA).
Lynda exhibits her exquisite mixed media fiber arts in exhibitions worldwide.
Currently, Lynda  has 3 books in development for publication in late 2016. First, is a book of essays based on her memoirs.  Second,  a book of new and selected poems. Third, a chapbook collection of  Abecedarian Poems.

To order a signed copy of my book:

contact me.

Be My Guest – Abbie Johnson Taylor

“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.” Rumi

My Special Guest Writer for February is

Abbie Johnson Taylor.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner

here’s a poem about love that endures through difficult times.

This poem was inspired by a song from a movie that was released in the late 1990’s. I never heard of the song or the movie until 2005.

 

this was after my late husband Bill proposed to me.

He was living in Fowler, Colorado, at the time, and I was here in Sheridan, Wyoming. We met through a magazine, and after a long-distance friendship during which we communicated regularly by e-mail and phone and met face to face twice, he sent me a letter, out of the blue, asking me to marry him. This was in January.

PHOTO_ValentineLetter

A month later, Bill  sent me a Valentine care package that included, among other things, a cassette tape of love songs he downloaded from the Internet.

One of these  songs was “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You”

from The Mask of Zorro. 

It became one of our songs.

 

 

 

Even now, after caring for him at home for six years when two strokes partially paralyzed him, and after I lost him three years ago, I still marvel that a man wanted to spend his lifetime loving me.

__________

To hear this song, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo4AWDELNiY . To hear me read the poem, visit https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/rise%20fal%20of%20zorro.mp3 .

__________

THE RISE AND FALL OF MY ZORRO

With cape, hat, mask, rapier,

he rode out of the darkness.

“Take my hand.  Dance with me,” he said,

“I want to spend my lifetime loving you,”

but happily-ever-after was not to be.

My hero fell and rose many times.

I felt the glory

until he fell for the last time.

Where there’s love, life begins again.

When life dies, love goes on.

__________

Abbie Johnson Taylor. Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Abbie’s Bio:

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of a novel and two poetry collections and is working on a memoir. Her work has appeared in Magnets and Ladders and Serendipity Poets Journal. She is visually impaired and lives in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, she cared for her late husband, totally blind and partially paralyzed as a result of two strokes. Please visit her blog at http://abbiescornere.wordpress.com and Website at http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com .

Below are links to Abbie’s books:

To hear this song, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo4AWDELNiY .

To hear me read the poem, visit https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/rise%20fal%20of%20zorro.mp3 .

__________

this post is presented in much appreciation by  Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.

 

Below: Lynda Lambert, Photo by Bob Lambert:  “My Pink Scarf”

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2016.. All Rights Reserved. 

 

Knitting15_Scarf9_4

__________

Lynda’s 2 blogs:

“Walking by Inner Vision” Link:  Walking by Inner Vision Blog
“SCANdalous – Recollections” Link:  SCANdalous – Recollections Blog

__________

Lynda’s Bio

Lynda McKinney Lambert – author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage” published by  Kota Press. To order, click here:  Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage
Lynda  authors two blogs on writing, the humanities, arts, and faith.
She is a freelance writer and her poetry and essays appear in numerous books and literary journals.  She is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities and she exhibits her fiber arts in exhibitions worldwide.
Currently, Lynda  has two books in development for publication in late 2016.

If you would like a signed copy of my book, contact me for information.

Symbols of Advwent – The Candle of Joy

Symbols of Advent

Part 3- Week 3

The Candle of Joy

Also known as  the Shepherd Candle

 by Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

GET READY!

LIGHT the 3rd  candle of ADVENT

A miraculous world-changing event will take place.

For a Christmas delight, click on the link below to listen to a Christmas song.  JOY  to you today.

 

Listen to _While Shepherds Watched Their Flock by Night”

Kings Choir performance

One thing I know for sure is this:

God comes us  in ordinary and everyday events.

 

We can be visited in unexpected times and in unique ways.  I have experiences visitations and deliverance many times in my seventy-two years of life. I bet you have, too! Pay attention to how God comes to YOU in the mundane activities of your life.

Begin to have a consciousness of God’s presence in the ordinary!

For the birth of Jesus, historical documents and texts show that  God prepared this event in advance.  We saw that preparation in last weeks Symbol of Advent – the Candle of Preparation.  Week 2 _Candle of Preparation

 

For Week 3 of Advent, we see that  sent ANGELS  to make an announcement to  LOCAL SHEPHERDS as they were working at night in the fields near Bethlehem.   Just another silent night in the fields!  An ORDINARY night, so they believed.  But then, the MIRACULOUS came to visit them. It would become a night that the  entire world would remember. Even now, over 2,000 years after the event people all over the world stop to remember it.

Blog_2014_PHOTO_Shepherds

A miraculous visitation of ANGELS, sent from the Divine, happened without warning.  The humble shepherds  were summoned to leave their fields.   The destination of their God-directed trip was a stable in Bethlehem  where the shepherds would see a newborn baby.

My extensive background in art and art history leads me to look for a connecting thread from one event in history to another. Historical context is what I seek to understand contemporary events and life in the 21st Century.

 

The one thread connecting every character in this ADVENT story is that each person was required to make an unexpected, unplanned, trip from one place to another.  Every single one!

I feel the  underlying loneliness that underlies  this miraculous story – everyone had to give up something that was familiar  and travel to an unfamiliar place to do unfamiliar things, with unfamiliar people.

Travel – Journey – Go – Trip – Excursion – Passage – Flight

 

Mary and Joseph had to leave their home at a time when no pregnant woman would choose to be going anywhere on a trip – especially by foot and by donkey. Yet, the trip was mandated by the LAW  and they had no choice but to go.

_____

When I was nineteen, I gave birth to my first child.  Eighteen months later, the second daughter was born. At age twenty-five, our third daughter was born. For all of those births, I was living in a comfortable home with my husband.  I had a local doctor, and when the time came, he delivered our daughters in our local hospital just 2 miles from our home. And, I remember how frightening it was – every time – when the pains of labor were intense enough that I was bent over double, unable to even stand up straight and I knew it was time to leave for the hospital and give birth.

OH, how did young Mary bear the long days of rugged travels when her body was heavy with her baby boy?

How did Mary  straddle the back of a donkey and ride those many miles with her bones and her muscles aching and cramping?

How did Joseph bear it to see her pain during the long journey to Bethlehem?

_____

Dear Mary,

Oh, Mary! As a mother living in the comfort of my own time in history, my  heart is sad when I remember  that you did not even have a warm bed or the comfort of your family  that night in a barn, in a city that had no room for you. You must have been so frightened – your first birth, your unfamiliar circumstances, your willingness to be obedient to the visitation you had from the Divine.

Mary, you knew you were carrying God in your womb, but how you must have wondered “why” you had to be so far from h home, so lonely, and in such a strange  place as a barn that night.

Mary, when I need strength to meet the demands of my ordinary life, I remember you.  Your courage, your love, and your obedience to God are more than enough to bring me through in victory from very inconvenience, every strange journey, every lonely day, and night.  Mary, I hold  you in my heart today as I write this letter to you, across the centuries.

_____

I know that in art through the ages, in songs, and now, in contemporary depictions of the Nativity, we see Angels, the Holy Family, Shepherds, and Three Kings all there together with the animals. Yet, when I read the ancient scriptures that record this event, what we see in the depictions of it are not at all accurate.

The nostalgic Christmas card scene has been pieced together over the years into a fantasy world that never existed in that way.  The centuries of lore have put together a very odd mixture of Christian history mingled with pagan practices, ideas, superstitions, and myths.  And, then add to this mixture, the cultural and racial confusion that exists to add to the fantasy.

_____

One evening in October 1997, I heard Him whisper to me, “Come away, my beloved!” I turned, and walked towards Him, and as I walked, I remembered the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “When Christ calls a man (woman); he bids him (her) to come and die.”  Like one of the shepherd’s in the fields near Bethlehem, I too became a shepherd who came to see, the infant who would one day be known as “The Good Shepherd.”

_____

There were only a very few worshippers around the manger in Bethlehem – just a handful of shepherds.  Oh, yes, the Three Kings were on the way, most likely, but it would be quite a long time before they traveled the distance and bowed before the little boy.

_____


Luke 2:7

“[Mary] gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

A lonely birth. There were no midwives, no assistance to Mary at all. The Bible doesn’t even mention that Joseph was present. Perhaps he was, but if he was typical of first-time fathers, he would have been of little help to Mary. She was basically on her own.

 


Unlikely Testimony

Luke 2:8-20 describes the experience of the shepherds when Jesus was born. Think about that for a moment. Out of the whole of Jerusalem society, God picked a band of shepherds to hear the news of Jesus’ birth. That’s intriguing because shepherds were among the lowest and most despised social groups.

The very nature of shepherds’ work kept them from entering into the mainstream of Israel’s society. They couldn’t maintain the ceremonial washings and observe all the religious festivals and feasts, yet these shepherds, just a few miles from Jerusalem, were undoubtedly caring for sheep that someday would be used as sacrifices in the temple. How fitting it is that they were the first to know of the Lamb of God!

More significant, they came to see Him the night he was born. No one else did. Though the shepherds went back and told everyone what they had seen and heard, and though “all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds” (v. 18), not one other person came to see firsthand.

We are left to wonder when we search the historical, scripture accounts – about the shepherds.  We don’t   how they knew where to go. I imagine they just came into Bethlehem and began walking about, asking, “Do you know where a baby has been born tonight?” The important thing for us to know is that they came!  They came because angels had visited them while they were taking care of their flocks at night. They had a visit from God, and they left their fields and followed the direction of the angels to go find the baby.  The shepherds became that night, the first Christian evangelists. They went out from the manger, and they told others what they had found.

***

Well, now that I have talked my way through the meaning of the shepherds, I can better understand Psalm 28. (NIV) and, here is where I find the connection between “joy” and the journey of the shepherds. I wish you a joyous journey to the Christ Child tonight, too.

 

 My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.

The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.

_____

As you complete this essay, you will LOVE the music and video I have placed here for you today – Check here!

 Come, Let us adore him, Christ the Lord

______

Link to Week 1 – The Candle of Hope at this link:

Go To Week 1 – the Candle of HOPE

Link to Week 2 – The Candle of Preparation (The Bethlehem Candle)

The Candle of Preparation (Bethlehem candle)

_____

Note: Photos by Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.

This essay was written by Lynda McKinney Lambert.  Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Please share it with your friends! Thanks!

_____

Next week:

Look for Week 4 – The Candle of Love (The  Angel Candle).

_____

Lynda McKinney Lambert is the author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage” published by  Kota Press. She authors two blogs on writing, the humanities, arts, and faith.  She is a freelance writer and her poetry and essays appear in numerous books and literary journals.  She is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities and she exhibits her fiber arts in exhibitions worldwide.
 Currently, she has two books in development for publication in 2016.

Remembering Grandma Farm

 

NOTE:  With many thanks to my creative friend Lynda Lambert for asking me to be one of her “guest bloggers,” I happily share with you a post from my Word walk blog.  The following memoir and poem comprised a Word walk post on May 14, 2014.  The accompanying photos of my grandmother’s lace pieces were taken this summer by my sister, Mary Elizabeth Fanyo, of Colorado.  As you enjoy looking at the photos, remember that my grandmother never crocheted from a pattern–except the patterns that were in her artistic mind.

 Blog15_SCAN_Massa_LacePiece5

Remembering Grandma Farm on the 122nd Anniversary of Her Birth:

 May 17, 1892-February 27, 1988

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

Photography by Mary Fanyo

 

 

At times when I am walking home from Metro Market with a bag full of groceries in my right arm, other groceries in my backpack, and my left hand on my Leader Dog’s harness handle—I  think of my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth (Liza) Massa, who too frequently walked the three miles from Klondyke, Indiana, to the nearest town of Clinton to purchase groceries.  While I am walking just a few blocks home, I ponder the load my grandmother carried for a few miles.  Since she lived on the small farm at the curve in the gravel road in Klondyke, so many of us called this remarkably strong woman “Grandma Farm.”

 

Born in Levone, Italy, on May 17, 1892, my grandmother quickly matured into a very young woman whose dreams looked toward a new life in the United States of America.  Having had a not too easy life in Northern Italy where she was raised by her peddler father and an unkind stepmother, Liza worked for a ship captain and his family before she and her dreams set sail.  In 1910, my grandmother took the SS La Savoie from La Havre, France, to New York.  The story is that aboard this ship, she danced across the Atlantic Ocean.  At Ellis Island, Liza became “Elizabeth.”  My grandmother ventured onward to the Midwest; soon after arriving in Indiana, Elizabeth kept her promise and married a tall, thin coal miner (who was also from Levone) on June 29, 1910.  James and Elizabeth Massa had six children.  After the arrival of sons Charles (Charlie) in 1911, James (Jimmy, my father) in 1913, and John (Johnny) in 1916—my grandmother gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Rosemary in 1925; but sadly, Aunt Rosemary died in infancy.  Then, my grandmother had two more children—Jules in 1926 and Katherine Mae in 1937.  Besides raising her five surviving children, cooking, gardening, working on the farm, keeping a meticulously clean farmhouse and outhouse—my grandmother learned English and loved to talk with family and her many friends.  Both of my grandparents were truly proud to become citizens of the United States.

 

Blog15_SCAN_Massa_Lace4The period which demonstrated her greatest strength and her greatest worries was during World War II when four blue stars were proudly displayed on a window of the farmhouse.  Yes, all four of my grandmother’s sons served in the United States Army, in Europe, during WW II.  Throughout those long years, I cannot begin to imagine how many prayers and rosaries my grandmother must have said nor how many tears she must have shed.  Most fortunately, all four of her sons returned safely home after serving their country.  Soon after the homecomings, the years of enjoying grandchildren—ten of us–ensued.

 

I can still picture my grandmother wearing her dark royal blue and white dress and donning a hat for her daughter’s wedding on June 16, 1956.  A few years later, in 1960, what a celebration our family had for my grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary!  Grandma even wore a corsage for the dinner at Binole’s Restaurant, followed by a reception at Aunt Kathy’s house.

 

When I was in high school, my grandparents left the farm with its grape arbor and front-porch swing to move to a nice house with indoor plumbing—a house just across the very small town of Blanford where my parents, my sister, and I lived.

 

Whether in Klondyke playing cards with her good friends Julia and Dominic or in Blanford visiting with relatives at a family reunion, Grandma Farm knew how to have a good and happy time with company around her.  Although life was not always easy for my grandmother, she had a way of finding and sharing good cheer and keeping up with modern times.  When her beloved daughter Kathy and her family moved to New Jersey, my grandmother—with Italian salami and brick cheese in her train case—flew in a jet to the East Coast to visit her daughter, son-in-law, and the three grandchildren—as well as visit our nation’s capital.  When my sister was married in 1975, my grandmother attended her first wedding reception at a hotel.  Throughout the years, Grandma Farm wrote a letter each week to her son Jules who still lives in California.  Watching the news on television, reading The Daily Clintonian newspaper, talking with her friends and family at her home or on the telephone—Grandma kept in touch.  Besides her ready laugh, she had a forceful voice and was not at all hesitant about giving advice.  Although Grandma continued to speak Italian at times, she was perfectly adept at speaking English, with a little Italian accent.  Not even once did I hear her talk about returning to the “Old Country”—her family, friends, and home were in America, the country of which she was a proud citizen.

 

Although I most remember my grandmother’s apple pies, apple turnovers, and yellow cake—I am gratefully surrounded by her artistry.  When she came to the United States from Northern Italy, my grandmother brought with her—only in her mind—the skills and patterns for remarkable crocheting.  Not only did Grandma Farm crochet afghans for all her children and their spouses, grandchildren, and others—Grandma crocheted from thread exquisite lace pieces.  Called “doilies” by some, my grandmother’s lace pieces numbered into the hundreds and were of many patterns and sizes.  Her lace pieces would rank her as a textile artist today.  Although the majority of the lace pieces were white or ecru, some thread which she worked into her patterns were pink, blue, and green.  Even though the lace pieces were traditionally starched, I still use her lace pieces, but do not starch them.  Her lace pieces of varying shapes were made to adorn the tops of tables, end tables, bookcases, and my piano.  While many of her designs are floral patterns, others are geometric patterns.  Having these treasured lace pieces in various rooms of my townhouse allows me to keep warm memories of my very artistic grandmother who—despite her arthritis—could crochet with yarn or thread faster and more precisely than you could ever imagine.

 

One day, a number of years ago, after the death of my grandmother at almost 96 years, I began pondering the lace pieces that were around me and thought of the following poem as a tribute to her textile artistry.  Blog15_SCAN_Massa_Lace2

At a local copy shop, I had note cards made with this poem on the front of the  card and gave sets of these cards to relatives.  This poem has special meaning for me, and I reprise it here to honor the 122nd anniversary of Elizabeth Massa’s birth.

 

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Lace Pieces

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

More than just dust-catchers,

 

these snowflake look-alikes—

 

lace pieces from the Old Country—

 

become starched artistic monuments

 

which once could have dressed angels

 

at the Sistine Chapel,

 

now rest pristine on tables

 

to gather soft memories of

 

hands that crocheted them,

 

hands that starched them,

 

piece by piece—

 

not for famous chapels,

 

but for family hope chests.

 

 

God bless all on our Massa Family Tree and all on your family tree, too!

Alice

 

May 14, 2014, Wednesday—the eleventh month birthday

of Grandma Farm’s great-great-granddaughter Lanie

 

* * *

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Biography:  Alice Jane-Marie Massa

After earning two master’s degrees and teaching for 25 years, Alice Jane-Marie Massa retired from teaching writing and public speaking at a technical college.

Alice invites you to visit her blog:  http://alice13wordwalk.wordpress.com, where she posts her poetry, essays, short stories, recipes, or memoirs each Wednesday.  Her writings on Wordwalk frequently focus on her guide dogs, her rural hometown, her Italian family heritage, and holidays.  Being the current president of Behind Our Eyes also fills hours of her retirement.  Away from her desk, Alice most enjoys long walks with her third Leader Dog (Zoe), container gardening, and the television program Jeopardy.

_____

Copyright 2015.  Featured  GUEST BLOGGER on

SCANdalous-Recollections Blog

28 November 2015 – by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

All rights reserved by the author, Alice Jane-Marie Massa.

 

 

The Cryptic Calling: an author’s journey Along an Unmarked Path

Meet  October’s Guest Blogger 

 Donna W. Hill

The Cryptic Calling: an author’s journey

Along an Unmarked Path

 

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This photo of Donna W. Hill with her guide dog, Hunter in ” Glowing Mist in the Redwoods” is by Rich Hill

 

It was 1954. A four-year-old girl with blond banana curls was in the living room. The house was quiet. Her parents were at work; her brother and grandmother in the backyard. She felt relieved to be alone. She didn’t know, nor would she for 14 years, that she was already legally blind.

 

The voice startled her. She stopped breathing, her ears scanning the house. But, it wasn’t necessary. She had felt the message settle into her spirit.

 

“You are here to do something important involving music.”

 

What did it mean? She instinctively took it as an anointing from God, though one with a disquieting lack of detail.

 

The Calling

 

That four-year-old was yours truly, and at sixty-five, that message still puzzles, intrigues and guides me. Initially, I assumed it meant that I was to become famous for my music. I didn’t share the experience, but I begged my parents to get me an accordion.

 

“You’re too small.”

 

Always a literalist, I was amused in second grade when — instead of the “massively-huge” accordion” — they bought me a piano . I progressed quickly, my nose on the brightly lit book, developing my memorization skills.

A Rude Awakening

 

Later that fall, I was selected for the Christmas concert. I was sure my ship had arrived. I was, however, wildly mistaken. I soon realized that there would be major obstacles.

“Go up to the top row of the risers.”

I was in the auditorium for our first rehearsal. I didn’t know what risers were, but I was soon on a contraption that shook and rattled with no way to steady myself. I didn’t understand how tunnel vision impacted my balance, and neither did anyone else.

Almost instantly, the director ordered me down, dismissing me from the group. She wouldn’t give me a few minutes to work it out or let me stand on the floor. The lesson wasn’t lost on me; although my voice was good enough, something more important about me wasn’t.

 

That spring, my teacher took my workbook away, despite my above average grades. She wasn’t comfortable watching me struggle to read. The other shoe dropped the following fall. I was placed in “Special Class,” where only first-grade large-print books awaited me. The thrust of my education was to fulfill the tiniest assignments, after which I was encouraged to play with pre-school toys.

 

My ophthalmologist was outraged. I was removed from “Special Class” and placed into a normal third grade class. The teacher, displeased with the placement, delighted in allowing open bullying of me and punished the girl who read me the questions from the board.

A Mission Slipping Away

 

By sixth grade, my vision was worsening, and piano music was far more complicated. My ability to memorize it was at a breaking point. I did what I thought any self-respecting twelve-year-old would do. I quit.

 

How was I supposed to interpret what I had heard in the living room? For the first (and far from the last) time, I considered the possibility that it could have merely been the ravings of a deranged mind.

In Search of a Miracle

 

Had God changed His mind? Or, perhaps, I needed to do something else first. If so, I knew what that was — get normal sight. It was obviously impossible to be successful without it.

 

Years before hearing televangelists discuss healing, I somehow knew I had to believe it would happen. Every morning for months, before I opened my eyes, I thanked God for restoring my sight, imagining the bright and detailed world that awaited me. My eyes, however, opened to dimness and confusion.

 

Progress and Compromise

 

At fourteen, I was devastated without music in my life. I asked for and received a guitar. Though I was too shy to share them, I started writing songs, beginning the inexorable link in my life between music and language.

 

In Junior High and High School, the bullying became more physical. The increase in work coupled with declining central vision necessitated a prioritizing of my work — literature and science were in; history and math out. Braille and recorded books were never discussed. I was legally blind in a world where it was more important to read and navigate with your eyes, regardless of how many mistakes you made, how much time it took, how sick you got or how many other things fell by the wayside, than to learn nonvisual skills.

 

The overt bullying stopped when I entered college. Nevertheless, I had lost the reading vision in my better eye that summer and was ill-equipped to take full advantage of the college experience. For the first time, however, I used recorded books and readers.

Reawakening the Dream

 

After graduation, I tried to make up the deficit. I trained with my first guide dog and learned Braille. I would pursue my dream of being a self-supporting musician — initially, as a street performer in Philadelphia’s Suburban Station.

 

I had my own apartment, kept an organic garden complete with a compost pile, baked whole grain bread and made everything from soup and tomato sauce to pesto and spanakopita. I started performing at schools, churches and other venues. I wanted my audiences to have a comfortable experience with a blind person and learn a bit about how we do things. I released two albums — “Rainbow Colors” and “Harvest.”

 

“If I had healed you back then,” said the same voice, “You would have never known that blindness didn’t have to limit you.”

 

Sidetracked

 

While recording my third album, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment, Rich and I married, and I finished the project. Just as “The Last Straw” was coming out, I found another cancerous lump. The drain on our energy and finances prompted a change in plans.

 

What about my mission? Had I done what I was supposed to do? Perhaps it had something to do with the many small contacts I’d had over the years. Maybe it was the man who wore out his copy of “Rainbow Colors” while recovering from an auto accident. Maybe it was one of the thousands of kids who had seen my school programs. I was well aware by then that we are all here to do something important. putting forth our best efforts and walking in love is the greatest, most difficult and most rewarding mission.

 

I didn’t give up. Blind people still aren’t being welcomed with open arms. Education, digital accessibility and unemployment remain major problems. I learned to use a computer with text-to-speech software to pursue another dream. In an effort to promote acceptance among the general public, my novel The Heart of Applebutter Hill was designed to allow the reader an intimate look into the mind of a blind teenager, embroiled in an exciting adventure. And, the music angle? Abigail’s a shy songwriter.

 

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Donna’s novel The Heart of Applebutter Hill, an educator-recommended diversity and anti-bullying classroom resource for middle school and older readers, is available in print, eBook versions and accessible formats for readers with print disabilities. For more information and to follow Donna’s blog, visit:

http://DonnaWHill.com

 

 

Photo by Rich Hill. Photos used with permission of the photographer. Thanks so much!

 

 

 

Donna is a singer and songwriter.  Click on the LINK below to enjoy listening  to Donn as she sings, “Love of my Life.”

 

**

Special THANKS to Rich and  Donna W. Hill for allowing me feature this story on the blog today!

Copyright 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

“In Which I Find Color in Late Winter”

 

“In Which I Find Color in Late Winter”

It was late this  morning when  I opened the bedroom blind. My husband, Bob, was still in bed.  We were so happy to see that the entire winter landscape and sky appeared to have a bright blue hue washed all over it.  I thought of a watercolor painter who mixed up a Blog_Photo_FullSnowMoonOverWoodsvery thin wash of color and brushed it all over the blank canvas.    It looked like someone had painted this brilliant landscape and put the shades of blue everywhere! Turquoise, Cerulean, Azure, Caribbean, Sapphire, and Cobalt – every shade of blue was overlaid on the picture we viewed from our window.  The delicate colors of the morning gave us a feeling of celebration in the early morning light today!

Since we just completed the first week of February, I decided to write about it today!  I thought about what to call this time of year. I know so many people begin to complain and lament the weather and dread the daily forecasts of storms and low temperatures. We seem to be in a deep freeze some days, with winter snow storms and squalls moving over the land like waves on an angry, stormy ocean.  The official designation of February is labeled, “Late Winter.”  That’s because it will be awhile before spring is here.  Spring will arrive on March 21st – and right now, we often feel like that is a long way off. However, that is exactly why I want to speak of the glorious colors of winter and its beauty today.  Maybe you will join me in appreciation of February this year. We still have a lot of time to do that because spring is still quite a distance away for us.

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Another unusual aspect of February is that is can be cunning and tricky with the environment. In particular, February days often warm up so much in the afternoons that it seems like spring arrived. Often in the first week of February, flower bulbs that are sleeping in the cold soil are tricked into thinking it’s time to wake up, push up some leaves, and bloom!   The ancient Celts thought that the earth wakes up in early February.  They believed the earth goes into a deep winter sleep during Halloween time.

Have you noticed the beauty of the wide range of colors at the beginning of February yet?

Winter colors, sensitive and subtle, or stark and vivid, are all around us in the month of February. Sometimes, if we focus on the harshness of winter’s storms or the labor of shoveling snow from sidewalks and streets, we might overlook the full palette of winter colors that surround us every day.  February’s landscape can go unnoticed if we are focused only on the challenges of Late Winter.

There is far more magic to find in the white snow or crystal ice outside our windows these days.  I recently stopped, looked around slowly at the winter landscape. I wanted to see what more there was beyond the snow and ice.  During the first week of February, I was outside with my dogs in the early morning, before daylight.  When I looked up into the pre-dawn sky, I saw that the moon was full.

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This February moon is called the “Full Snow Moon.” That’s because February is the month when the heaviest snows fall on the earth.  Hunters are out trying to find wildlife to shoot but it is difficult to find animals in the deep snowfall.  Because of this, Native Americans called the moon, “Hunger Moon.”

As I watched the sky, light from the moon illuminated the night sky in every direction.  The stillness of the celestial scene mingled with the thrusting branches of the stark winter trees in the woods below.  I became aware that I had to observe this glorious scene through the many bare branches of an ancient maple tree. From my vantage point on the ground beside the maple tree, it seems like I viewed the sky through the loose warp and weft of a tapestry that was created by the tree as it reached upwards and spread its arms like an enormous fan between me and the “Full Snow Moon.”   The entire tree appeared to be made from the darkest, deepest shade of sapphire blue.   The softest shade of indigo appeared to be painted across the entire sky in every direction from the east to the west where the moon was descending.  Liquid sky color mingled through the negative spaces of the branches.  The color reminded me of my own grade school days, in the 1950s, when I wrote my alphabet letters on a lined paper.  I dipped my  pen,  in and out, of the  bluish ink in the  well cut into the wooden  desk  This  sky was the  hue  that would be created  if I  mixed  a drop of the India Ink into a small cup of water.

The full moon seemed to hover beyond the tree branches, above the woods, and seemed to quiver with anticipation because it was about to disappear forever

Look for the colors of February this month!  They signal that in the heart of deep, frigid Late Winter t there is glory and a sense of the divine.  Take a deeper look;   see the hand of the Master Artist.   There is a full range of values in the February palette Take your time, and see what you will find in your own little place on this earth, this month.

Whatever time of day it is when  you read this message, will be the perfect time to see the colors of February! The dazzling Late Winter show is a gift from God and it is  free for everyone to discover if you live in a place where you have a real old-fashioned winter time.  If you do, I say,  “Give February a chance!”