Five Days Challenge – Day Two

I have been invited by Terry of Through the Lens of My Life to participate in a Five Day Challenge.  Each day, I will post a photo and write a story to go along with it.  (I probably will interpret the term ‘story’ quite loosely.  I do that.)  I will also invite one person each day to take up this challenge on his/her blog. 

My offering for today is called ‘Outward Bound’:

ship

And after all that had been said, Brody still couldn’t understand why she thought sailing off into a wet, white void was more like freedom than chasing ducks on the shore. But she had the bigger brain and he wore the collar, so he trotted up the gangplank and resigned himself to barking at seagulls from the deck.

 

— Next, I invite you to visit Jamie Dedes at The Poet By Day.  She is an honest-to-goodness Poet, and posts her poems and photographs (and other interesting tidbits) on her various sites.  She has more than five days of work on her blog, so this is not a challenge to her, but an exhortation to you to peruse her garden.  She is also the co-founder of a blog magazine (‘blogazine’) that considers me a contributing writer.  Our identity: “We are a consolidation of two collaboratives, a compendium of works from diverse and visionary creatives with the shared core values of peace, justice and nonviolence.” We are coming out with our fifth issue of The ‘B’ Zine on March 15.  I am pleased to have contributed a feature article to each issue. 

© 2015, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

Five Days Challenge – Day One

I have been invited by Terry of Through the Lens of My Life to participate in a Five Day Challenge.  Each day, I will post a photo and write a story to go along with it.  (I probably will interpret the term ‘story’ quite loosely.  I do that.)  I will also invite one person each day to take up this challenge on his/her blog.  I’m excited to participate, as I have been eager to set aside time to indulge my creative side.  It’s a spring awakening, of sorts, so thank you, Terry!  Here’s my first offering:

frost script

Sometime during the night, a winged spirit must have visited my window. There are the traces of his presence and his flight, frozen against the pane. It’s as if he were caught peeking in at my dreams, and perhaps left a note to apologize for the intrusion. Dear Messenger, does your scrolling script bring word from that soul who lives in my memory and heart, the figure of my dreams, the love of my past youth? If so, then I thank you for this precious gift, gone with the rising warmth of morn. A brief delight, as was his kiss, a fluttering pulse. It is enough to tickle my imagination and leave a smile.

– Next, I invite you to visit Naomi Baltuck at Writing Between the Lines.  She has already accomplished much more than this challenge requires, and as a professional storyteller and author, she may not have time to participate in this specifically.  (You’re off the hook, friend!  But you’ve been tagged for visits. 🙂 )  I love her posts…it’s like nestling into the cozy corner of a children’s library for Story Hour.  Her photos and stories are like the picture books that you loved to discover as a kid: humorous, expertly illustrated, and with a great message to take away.  Enjoy!  And thanks for spending time here!

© 2015, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

Present Moment, Beautiful Moment

January 7 – past and present

1984 – It’s my wedding day.  The weather is chilly and foggy in Northern California.  I am too excited to sleep late.  I have a date with my fiance for a morning meeting.  He comes to pick me up at my parents’ house.  My grandmother is aghast that we are seeing each other before arriving at the church; it’s just not done.  But we know what we want.  We want to focus on each other, on the meaning the day has for us personally before being caught up in the ritual.  We park the car under some oak trees in the foothills.  We decide it’s too damp and cold to walk, so we sit in the car and talk.  We are calm and happy.  He drops me off at the house.  The next time I see Jim, he is standing at the altar, grinning.  I take his hand.  I notice it’s cold and clammy, so unlike the warm bear paw I expect.  I smile at him.  He’s caught up in excitement.  The wedding mass is a long event.  We emerge from the church and see sunlight for the first time that day.  It doesn’t last long.  The reception in the Parish Hall is intimate and bustling.  It’s dark when we leave.  I get home and change.  My mother takes care of the dress.  The station wagon is packed with my belongings, gifts, and leftover bottles of champagne.  We drive south to Pebble Beach.  I’m hungry.  I hope the restaurant at the inn is still open by the time we get there.  We find we are able to get sandwiches at the bar.  We retire to our room.  I feel so incredibly grown up; in one day, I’ve suddenly matured.  I’m married.  I’m 21 years old.

scan0027January 7 – this morning

The sun comes in the southeast window, and I begin to stir.  As my mind brightens, I remember the day.  Steve is sleeping beside me.  I pull out the battered photo album from the box in the corner and settle back on the bed.  Was it really cloudy that day?  I flip through the pages in front of me, my mind turning over more leaves than my fingers.  My phone beeps.  My daughter is texting me to let me know she’s thinking of me today.   Her baby face smiles at me from a photograph.  She will be turning 30 in a few weeks.  Steve begins to stir.  I look at his face as his eyes open.  “What are you doing here?” he asks.  That’s a good question!  “It’s a long story,” I laugh.  But that doesn’t really answer the question.  I am living.  I am aware now of the present moment.  As I look around, I see the beauty of this day, this year.  The air is cold and dry.  The trees outside are bare, the branches dusted with snow.  I look down at my left hand.  It is lined by swollen veins and wrinkles.  There’s a brown spot just there.  I have a ring on my index finger with a blue topaz heart set in it.  No other rings.  My fingers press Steve’s arm.  “I am waking up.  And you?”  “I am Steve-ing.” 

present moment

© 2015, essay and photograph, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

Weekly Photo Challenge: New

What’s New?  That’s actually a very complex question.  Perhaps you’ve heard it said that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed.  That means that everything is just a recombination of ancient atoms and forces.  Even the sunlight of a new day is coming to us from so far away that the first beams to reach our eyes are already old.  Therefore, “there is nothing new under the sun,” to quote wise old Solomon.  ‘New’ is a concept that we’ve made up, a proposition of dualistic thinking. 

Which makes it impossible for me to come up with an accurate illustration. 

So, I’ll leave accuracy aside and go for poetry. 

new fire

Firelight, flickering to life moment by moment.  Have you ever stared into a flame and wondered how it keeps going?  Have you ever contemplated ‘eternal combustion’ and wondered how the sun keeps shining?  Have you ever wondered how it is that Life Goes On?  A new year.  Did you ever doubt that there would be one? 

What if… 

What if one day, the sun went dark and time stopped?  What if the Universe did not behave as expected?  What if meaning and existence and relationships and substance turned out to be utter nonsense?  Have you ever stared into the abyss?  Have you ever turned toward existential angst and forgotten to look away? 

What did that feel like? 

I’ll tell you how it felt to me on New Year’s Eve.  Steve read me a story aloud at the dinner table.  The story was Flannery O’Connor’s tale A Good Man Is Hard To Find.  I’d heard it before.  This time, as he finished, the tears began to roll down my face.  The leftover bits of caviar and salmon on the table looked like a joke.  I felt like I was dead.  And then I felt like there was very little difference between being alive and being dead.  I felt akin to all of humanity, all of its pointless suffering joy, and resigned.  The champagne stayed in the refrigerator. 

Is that depressing?  Is that grace-less?  It felt new.  I’d never felt that way before.  I didn’t brush it off with a hasty grasp at consolation.  I let myself feel that mystic emptiness.  Steve said later, “Whatever doesn’t make you kill yourself, makes you stronger.”  Dark and light.  Old and new.  What brave, new world would I live in if I could embrace both? 

I wonder.

(And if Ms. O’Connor can write a story that illustrates a feeling I’d never had before so powerfully that I’m in tears for an hour afterward, does that make her the greatest writer on the planet?  I don’t know, but she’s gotta be damn close.)

in response to the Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge.

80 Years in Eight Days — Day Number Six: Ten Administrative Aids

My mother’s birthday is but 2 days away now.  I’ve told you a bit about her specific talents in music, cooking and parenting, but she also possesses a general talent for being organized and efficient.  She is a Domestic Engineer, by her own reckoning.  She comes by it honestly, for her much-admired father was a professional electrical engineer.  Her administrative skills are well-developed and have been applied to a multitude of volunteer positions, from Girl Scout leader to chamber concert coordinator to clerk of the Vestry to museum archivist.  She has raised money, written newsletters, cataloged artifacts, designed living and office space, kept detailed financial records, chronicled events, communicated, consulted, collaborated, and carried on for so many organizations that I could never recall them all.  To my knowledge, she has not received any remuneration since graduating from college.  Nevertheless, she is highly professional and knows how to get a job done.  Because of her, my awareness of basic functional habits goes back to my early childhood.  Here are 10 of her specific instructions.

1) Write it down.  Whatever it is, a shopping list or a line of poetry, if you want to remember and refer to it, write it down.  My mother’s tiny notes could be found in any number of spiral bound flip pads in our house.  She’s not so untidy as to leave them on single Post-Its or envelopes.  I now carry Moleskine pads in my hiking backpack because even on the trail, my thoughts are harmonized with the echo of my mother’s admonition: write it down. 

2) Use double-entry bookkeeping for your finances.  With numbers, it’s better to write it down twice.  (Sorry, Mom.  I stopped doing this a long time ago, and I also don’t balance my checkbook anymore.  Online debit records are all I’ve got now.  Don’t worry; it’ll do.)

3) Label it.  Remember those label-making guns that punched letters one by one onto a plastic strip?  That was a bit much for Mom, but her laundry marking pen, white cotton bias tape and adhesive tape were always on hand.  With four girls in the house and summer camp every year, you can bet she was keen to keep everything straight.  Even our dolls were marked at the nape of the neck with our initials.  Why else would my doll be called ‘P Baby’?

1965

4) Never go upstairs empty-handed.  (You’d laugh, Mom, at how many times I have said this to Steve as he’s moving books up and down from the attic.)  I went so far as to purchase stair baskets when I had 4 kids and a big house.  Making every effort efficient was my mother’s goal, within the house and in the broad world.  So…

5) Plan your errands well in advance.  For most of their marriage, my parents shared one car.  On the one or two days in the week when she had a vehicle, her route was specifically engineered to save time and gas.  There was no “running out to pick up something” at odd times of the day.  Everything — bank, library, dry-cleaners, grocery store, filling station, school, church office — was expertly orchestrated in one trip.  I have internalized this mode.  I do not “shop” or browse or dilly-dally when going to procure something.  Even a Christmas tree.  (ask Susan)  This trait drives Steve nuts sometimes.   It’s not spontaneous; it’s not in the moment; it’s not an interesting way to travel.  I have to turn off the “get the job done” mentality deliberately when our purpose is experience.

6) Clip coupons and keep them organized.  This is part of planning your errands and shopping trips.  Mom’s library scissors were always in the center drawer of her desk.  When Dad was done with reading the paper, she’d get to work.  It’s a habit that can get out of hand, though.  I always kept a card file box full of coupons, most of which had expired long ago, in my kitchen.  Finally, when I moved, I pitched it, but not without hesitation.   I now keep just a handful under a magnet on my fridge.

7) Waste not.  This is deep in Mom’s blood and deep in mine, Scottish heritage and all.  Keep those bones for soup stock.  Keep that packing material for your next mailing.  Keep those worn jeans for shorts and patches. And you can bet that with 4 girls, the youngest (me) was always in hand-me-downs!  I think most Americans have lost this value long ago, much to the disadvantage of the planet. 

the couch

8) Recycle.  Mom was doing this before it was convenient.  There was no curb-side recycling in the 60s, but along with her other errands, she’d visit the recycling center with paper sacks of old newspapers, boxes of aluminum cans, and glass bottles separated by color.  There was no plastic recycling then. 

9) Load your appliances correctly.  Dishwashers and washing machines and dryers take lots of energy…your own as well as the power company’s.  Learn to pack them well.  My mother was always able to get more into the dishwasher after I’d loaded it.  I’ve gone back to washing dishes by hand, but I’m always trying to figure out how to use less water and fit more on the drying rack.  It’s a good practice. 

10) Put the kitchen to bed before you retire.  A clean kitchen in the morning is a lot nicer to wake up to.  A clean house is nicer to come home to after a vacation.  I think of the ending scenes in PBS programs like “Upstairs, Downstairs” and The Boston Pops concerts: the char woman cleaning up before the lights go out, and the stage is ready for the next installment.  It gives me a very settled feeling to follow this example.  Of course, tidy endings aren’t always attainable.  That’s life.  I do my best. 

photo by Steve

photo by Steve

80 Years in Eight Days — Day Number Five: 10 Silly Sayings

The birthday project continues.  Yesterday’s was a rather heavy topic.  I had to take a nap after writing it!  So today, I’m offering Silly Sayings to lighten things up a bit.  My mom was an English major in college and has always exhibited a droll, rather British wit.  She loves word play and puns and arcane literary allusions.  So here’s a list of some of her rather unique utterances.  We’ll start with terminology and end up with occasional quips.

1) Zans.  This is a kitchen gadget commonly known as a bottle opener, but thanks to Dr. Seuss, my mother refers to it as a Zans.  “Have you a Zans for cans?  You should!” (from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, of course)zans-for-cans

2) Doo-hickey.  This is a twist-tie for closing a plastic bag.  She saves them in a little dish on top of the oven to re-use. 

3) Cupeliar.  It’s like peculiar, only more so. 

4) Slip-go-down.  This is any food that you can eat without making an effort to swallow it.  It’s served when you are sick with a very sore throat.  An alternative for brand-name gelatin, if you will. 

5) Posbiculate.  Otherwise known as brain-storming, logistic cogitating, or ‘work-shopping’, if you speak Biznish (that one’s mine;  I came up with it when my IT husband would start using computer terms at home).  How it’s used: my brother is now engaged, but there is no wedding date set yet.  We’re still posbiculating. 

From this sampling of terms, we now move into occasions.

6) The one great hour of swearing.  This is when my mother feels an urgency to clean house.  She swoops down on us in a flurry of instructions, frustrations, and activity making everyone uncomfortable…but only for a short time, because it’s all accomplished quickly and efficiently.  Then she can say…

7) “It’s all a merciful blur.”  I get this response a lot when I ask her to recall the details of how she managed something painfully emotional and/or difficult.  She prefers to remain positive. 

8) “I haven’t had this much fun since we nailed the baby to the floor!”  Now, calm down.  Mom’s not got a sadistic bone in her body.  Picture this instead: a baby dressed like Swee’ Pea in a Popeye cartoon with a trailing nightie.  Nail the nightie to the floor, and the baby will crawl forever and not get into any mischief.  So, now you can!

9) “Enuff zis luff-makink.  Let’s eat!”  This is how Mom moves a gathering of chit-chatting guests into the dining room to actually sit down and begin the meal before it gets cold.  I kid you not, she said this as we were standing around in the courtyard of the columbarium at my father’s memorial service, too.  Dutifully, we all burst out laughing and headed in to the Parish Hall to start the reception.

Resting place

10) “Here’s champagne for our real friends, and real pain for our sham friends!”  This toast comes out periodically.  She said it over the phone to me on Christmas just a few days ago.  Now you’ve heard it just in time for New Year’s Eve, her birthday.  I leave it up to you to quote…or not. 

New Year's 2013

© 2014, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

80 Years in 8 Days – A Birthday Project for My Mother

“My sainted mother” (as Gene Kelly used to say of his) is turning 80 on New Year’s Eve.  She is a couple of thousand miles away in California; I am living in Milwaukee missing the sunshine of her warm personality.  How shall I celebrate her life from this distance?  I came upon an idea: post a blog entry every day from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Eve containing 10 things I appreciate about her.  By her birthday, she will have read 80 reasons that I am so grateful for her long life. 

I have decided to start out with “10 Background Bits”, pieces of factual information to set the stage for her “close up”.  First, there is a family history for this kind of project.  When my father turned 60, I presented him with a little typed booklet entitled “60 Memories of My Father”.  The cover was made out of construction paper.  It looked a bit like a school assignment for a 3rd grader, I admit.  But it was made with love.  My father ended up writing his own memoirs 8 years later in response to interview questions I sent him.  2 years after that, he began his mysterious journey into dementia and Alzheimer’s.  For my mother’s 70th birthday, I wrote “!70 Foods 70!”, an anthology of food memories with pictures.  (She is a fabulous gourmet cook.) My mother keeps that in a binder, each page engulfed in a separate plastic sheath.  It looks a lot more professional than my first attempt. (She is also a museum archivist.)  So this birthday project is one of a much-beloved series that has enriched me in the recollection and writing of it and, hopefully, enriched my parents in the receiving.

2) Time: Anne Louise was born December 31, 1934 – a blessed little tax deduction for her folks that year and their first child.  My kids now know her as “Granne Louise”.

3) Place: Fair Lawn, New Jersey. 

4) Mother: Marion Keeffe McFarland.  A tiny spitfire of a personality, ambitious and shrewd, a capable survivor with a twinkle in her step.  My mother and I both wore her long bridal veil when we were married.  The secret she carried to her grave: she never got beyond the 8th grade in school.

grandma Marion5) Father: David Elmer McFarland, Jr.  He was an electrical engineer with Public Service of New Jersey.  His stateside responsibilities kept him home during WWII, keeping the power running, managing 5 Victory Gardens, and being husband and father.  My mother adored her father: he was the calming antidote to her mother’s small furies and mini dramas, a grounding presence with a refreshing sense of humor.  I think I heard once that he played the piano at a nickelodeon… I believe it, anyway.

grandpa David6) Her younger sister, Sandy.  Actually, her name is Marion like her mother, but her nickname distinguishes her.  Her blonde hair, petite frame and bubbly personality came back to my mother’s mind often when I was in her view, since I was the only blonde and the youngest of her 4 daughters.  Sandy was much like her mother: tiny and very social.  My mother was more like her father: lanky and cerebral. 

7) My mother’s natural strengths: precocious and enduring intelligence, musical talent, organization. 

8) Her natural weakness: her eyes.  She was finally diagnosed with myopia and ambliopia at age 5, and wore an eye patch and glasses.  Her walleye makes for poor depth perception, but it gives her the peripheral vision that kept me from sneaking anything past her…ever. 

star9) Growing up: my mother’s stories of growing up sound to me like echoes from an early TV sitcom — pin-setting at the bowling alley for a penny a pin to earn spending money, which was then spent at the movies, often for a double feature; learning to drive on a dirt road around the town’s water tower with her boyfriend, Duff; keeping statistics for the school baseball team and flirting with the players; trips to New York City every year, where her Aunt would buy her a new coat.  Happy days, it would seem. 

10) Becoming an adult: because she skipped a year of school and her birthday’s so late in the year, my mother headed off to college at the tender age of 16.  And not just any college — Radcliffe College.  Her mother had two goals for her: either meet a rich man and marry, or get a first rate education so that you can support yourself.  My mother got both the man and the education.  She graduated in May of 1955, earning a B. A. in English with her thesis on Jane Austen.  She married George William Heigho (Harvard ’55) in September that same year. 

1955bFor a writing class 3 years ago, I was prompted to write my parents’ wedding announcement.  Mom, always a sharp editor, made sure I got it right:

Anne Louise McFarland and George William Heigho II were married September 3, 1955 at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Glen Rock, New Jersey.  The bride is a graduate of Radcliffe College, and the groom is a Harvard graduate.  The couple met at the Canterbury Club on campus during their sophomore year.  Mrs. Heigho is the daughter of Marion Keeffe and David Elmer McFarland, Jr. of Fair Lawn, New Jersey.  Her father is an electrical engineer with Public Service of New Jersey.  The groom is the son of Dorothy Lauver and William Stephens Heigho of Detroit, Michigan.  His grandfather, George William Heigho I, was the president and CEO of Calvert Lithographing company.  The couple will be sailing to England on the Nieuw Amsterdam for their honeymoon, returning in a month to their new home in Boston.  Mr. Heigho will then begin work with IBM.”

This portion of the birthday project also serves as a traditional Christmas Eve ghost story.  The spirits of my Grandpa, Grandma, and father are affectionately internalized in my mother now.  I’m sure she holds many more as well – notably (to me) my sister and my husband.  The lives of friends, family, entertainers, neighbors, writers, thinkers and even fictional characters seem to animate her with exuberant ideas of connection.  Conversation with her is peppered with the anecdotes of a host of souls.  

Tomorrow is Christmas Day, and that chapter of 80 Years in 8 Days is dedicated to “10 Family Foods”.  My mother’s table is the holiday feast I dream of every year.  While visions of it dance in my head, I wish you, Mom, and dear readers, a Good Night.    

Long, dark nights – brief, sunless days

A poem I wrote many years ago, re-written slightly.  Originally about Advent, it works well with Solstice, too. 

A cold dissatisfaction oozes poison into hours

of solitary boredom that once tasted summer’s warmth

and rejoiced in sensate ponderings of heaven’s languid clime.

 

Now prayers lie frozen on my lips these bitter, ashen afternoons.

 

Glossy catalogs and magazines lie orphaned at my door,

but I will not adopt their cheer

nor bed th’insouciant whoring of our winter holy days.

 

So melancholy punctuates the numbing march of time

into that darkened solstice of medieval isolation —

propelled into the farthest arc, forsaken by the sun.

 

Thus emptied into neediness, to famine and despair,

I search the yawning pitch-smeared void

and there behold a piercing Star!

 

No gaily burning candle nor twinkling hearthside glow,

this is the hard-edged hopefulness forged pure and straight of cosmic might,

arising out of nothingness toward Life’s salvific land.

 

My soul, a silent universe,

lies naked in its beam,

a prayer more fragile and profound

than any summer dream.

For warmth and life, nothing beats baking and eating tasty treats!  Steve made a Pear Rosemary quick bread the other day.  It filled the house with a savory aroma of sweetness, tartness and tangy evergreen. 

May your brief, sunless days be warmed with life, your long, dark nights with be warmed with love!

© 2014, poem and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

Inside My Head: Fear

I noticed it right away.  My heart beat faster and my thoughts proliferated out of control.  Every twinge of muscle, of intestine, of nervous skin was magnified.  I wanted to run, to turn back the clock, to un-make this reaction.  I struggled to assert my Rational brain.  “Emotional reactions are not the Truth.  They are a human phenomenon, but they are not Right or Wrong.”  How do I act, what are my choices, given this rising tide of Fear?  I immediately decide on Function.  I later decide on Communication.  I notice that when I begin to dismantle the wall of Function, I feel very vulnerable.  My nose prickles, my eyes moisten.  I entrust myself  to a Listener.  I dare myself to be Honest. 

fearFear is at the dinner table, and we let it talk.  It is mostly about The Unknown.  What will happen?  What will my options be?  Will it hurt?  I am uncomfortable.  I squirm.  I weep.  I want to flee, but I stay put.  I keep talking.  Memories of pain join the conversation.  I don’t want to return to that place.  I realize that I can’t return to that place.  Each place is different.  Life moves forward; we flow with it.  Now that my emotions and thoughts are freed from repression, I feel movement in myself.  It is comforting.  I am unstuck, calmer.  And exhausted.  How much energy it takes to be afraid!  I will sleep, and use my energy differently tomorrow.

© 2014, essay and photograph, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

BE inspired … BE creative … BE peace … BE

The second issue of The ‘B’ Zine is out!  This is a collaboration of The Bardo Group (which considers me a contributing writer) and Beguine Again.  The theme for this month is “Preparation”.  I invite you to check it out, enjoy it, reblog it, and be part of the movement.  Peace!

THE B Zine, December, Vol.1, Issue 2 – Table of Contents with Links

THE B ZINE

BE inspired … BE creative … BE peace … BE

Volume 1, Issue 2

a publication of Bequine Again and The Bardo Group

This Month our Theme is

Preparation

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THIS SEASON in the Christian Church is Advent,  a time of spiritual preparation for birth of the Christ spirit in the hearts of human kind.

If you are not Christian, you might use this time and these practices as preparation for the birth of your highest Self as represented by the founder or a saint of your own religion or as an awakening to the Essential Spirit within. If you are atheist, you might see this time as preparation for the birth of the very best You.  Inspiration and suggested spiritual practice are gifted to us by Terri Stewart, Priscilla Galasso, JD Gore, and Rev. Tandi Roberts.

In this issue  we also look back with Corina Ravenscraft at November and its gifts of Gratitude and Rememberence as we cross the threshold into December.  Corina’s second feature is a celebration of December.

Jamie Dedes reviews Writing Your Self: Transforming Personal Material by John Kilick and Myra Schneider.  Working with this book might be a good way for you to kick-start the fast-approaching New Year. We have poetry from Jamie,  Joseph Hetch, Terri Stewart and Myra Schneider and a sampling of Naomi Baltuck’s singular photo stories, both inspired and inspirational.

Other features include a reflections on: an Ethiopian coffe ceremony with Karen Fayeth; life and isolation with Joseph Hesch, World AIDS day with Tracy Dougherty; the presence God with Liliana Negoi; and an artful medition by the Rev. Tendi Roberts.

You will find team and guest bios HERE along with links to their work and/or websites.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Features/Preparation

Slowly We Go, Terri Stewart

Prepare Ye – The Way and the Wilderness, Priscilla Galasso

Preparation, Frank Watson

Preparation Ritual, Tandi Roberts

I Knew Advent, JD Gore

Features/General Interest

For the Love of a Good Cuppa, Karen Fayeth

Lifting Stones, Lilliana Negoi

World AIDS Day, Tracy Daugherty

Rememberance and Forgiveness, Corina Ravenscraft

Seasonal Cheer, Corina Ravenscraft

Swann in the City, Joseph Hesch

Book Reviews

Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Jamie Dedes

Writing Your Self: Transforming Personal Experience, Jamie Dedes

Poetry

Finding Silence, Myra Schneider

Beneath the Surface, Joseph Hesch

You Just Missed it, Joseph Hesch

The Leaves Still Fall, Joseph Hesch

The Republic of Innocence, Jamie Dedes

Winter Is Here, I Know, Jamie Dedes

Photo Stories

Embracing the ‘M’ Word, Naomi Baltuck

The Many Degrees of Spooky, Naomi Baltuck

Virgins No More, Naomi Baltuck

It’s Never Too Late, Naomi Baltuck

Art

Light from Darkenss, Becky Withington

Illustrations:

Header: Adoration of the Shepherds, Gerardvan Honhorst (1622)
Above: Angel Gabriel’s Annunciation to Mary, Murillo (1655)
Below: A page from an 11th-century Gospel of Matthew (1:18-21) with Matthew 1:21, (35) providing the origin of the name “Jesus.”

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