Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?
Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;--
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The little kitten tops that list. I thought I'd give an update on her after all the comments from the last post. Colleen apparently had some uncanny insight, as she left a comment saying that it seemed the kitten was a metaphor for our throw-away society.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
It seems just weeks ago, I was watching this little, snaggle-toothed boy walk through the double doors, into his first year of school...... and feeling as if my heart were walking away from me.
This mama had a harder time transitioning to this life change than he did. I remember agonizing during the year leading up to school about the best way to educate him.... should I homeschool, put him in public school, find a private school? I wanted him to have the best possible start for his "official" education.
Now, his Kindergarten graduation is coming up next week, and I wonder how it came so soon. I'm grateful for his little, country school that gave him a great first year.
Just last week, I came with my camera and took all the kids' yearbook pictures...... and I saw in their faces and smiles, the results of a small, close-knit community school.
Yesterday, I gathered with other school moms and community members, and peeled apples, and baked apple dumplings and pies all day in the school cafeteria in preparation for the school's annual Ice Cream Social. Everyone knew each other, and the 9 hour day of baking didn't seem tedious in the least bit, with all the conversation, laughter, and shared work. Students came in and out to help.... they made signs, and decorated the school. Community, as it was meant to be. Education, as it was meant to be.... a joint effort between parents and teachers, and the local community.
And I ended my day.... and I will end this first school year.... with gratitude.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I was loved on twice yesterday by two fellow bloggers. First, I received this awesome homemade citrus soap in the mail from Brandy, a gift to celebrate the opening of her new online Etsy shop. She trepidly contacted me to ask for my mailing address last week, not sure if I would give it to her. I assured her that I didn't mind, and that if I were to have a stalker, who better to have than a knitting, baking, soap-making mama who sends me free things in the mail. :) I encourage you to check her new shop out.... she has soap, cloth napkins, seeds, reusable bags, and felted goodies, with more to come. All are handmade.
Then, to add to the beauty of my day, I was contacted by L.L. Barkat, letting me know she put up this post about me. I clicked over and was moved to tears and extremely humbled by it. If that is all that ever came from my music, it would be enough.
So much love from this little blogging community of mine.... I never would have dreamt it when I put up my first post a little over a year and a half ago. Thank you, ladies... and thank ALL of you who have come into my life and moved me and encouraged me time and time again.
Friday, May 16, 2008
why did you find me beautiful,
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Monday, May 05, 2008
As you can see, our politicians in WV are mostly bought.... and not just our politicians, but our states' DEP. Despite all of this controversy, Spike Maynard is running for re-election. And on the Republican ticket, running unopposed, is Beth Walker, wife of the Vice President of Walker Machinery, the company that makes millions of dollars selling equipment for MTR sites.
And Don Blankenship, the CEO of Massey Energy, who attacked the reporter in the video? He just told the Wall Street Journal that his goal for the upcoming year is to open a new mine every 17 days. Denny posted about it on our End MTR blog here. It's absolutely maddening...
Meanwhile, study after study is showing the ill-effects coal is having on people's health in the coalfields, how it is the major contributor to global warming, and how more and more mountains are being blown to smithereens to extract it. Our state is being raped daily. And when the Coal is gone, there will be nothing left. The hills that have sustained the mountain people here for generations will be no longer and WV residents will be left with nothing.
It's wrong on every level.....
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
But the vibrant energy of the Dulcimer Week kept me going. I learned enough to keep me occupied for months and months to come..... which was exactly my goal. My wonderful instructor, Jeff Sebens (below), met us exactly where we were.... and taught in just the right way. He challenged us and took us to the next level on our instruments, but didn't give us so much new information that we became glassy-eyed and overwhelmed.
Of course, it didn't hurt that all our classes were held on the gorgeous Davis & Elkins College campus with its historic buildings and lush greenery. Our class was held in the Victorian Halliehurst building:
And this was our classroom... the parlor of Halliehurst, with its ornate fireplace, high ceilings, beautiful paintings, and old woodwork:
Spring was in full bloom and sights like this greeted me on the footpaths between classes and events:
Good medicine, folks..... good medicine......
Sunday, April 27, 2008
This was just one of the many beautiful Spring sights I saw in my travels this past week. The mountain roadsides were lush with Redbud, Dogwood, Phlox, and many other blooming trees and wildflowers. These lovely trees happened to be at the base of Seneca Rocks.... majestic in every season.
I'll post soon about the Dulcimer retreat..... after I unpack and unwind from my intensive, but fun week.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
....will be flooding and surrounding my senses this week. I am off today to cash in my birthday/Christmas/Mother's day gift, wrapped up in one intensive week-long Dulcimer workshop.
I hope to come home next weekend no longer an 'advanced beginner'.... taking the step to the intermediate level.... woohoo! :) And Fiddlegirl and I, (above on Easter Sunday), will have some new repertoire.
Dulcimer is literally translated 'sweet melody'..... and it's haunting and sweet strains have been echoing through these ancient mountains since the first Scotch, Irish, and English settlers settled here. If you have a moment, stop over and read this beautiful poem from a post that a MySpace friend so kindly dedicated to me. Thank you, Little Pup.
See you next week!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
our paradise got overgrown, and the thorns grew back.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
..... both poured forth at the table. The corner table with the scent of weeping cherry tree blossoms tinging the air, Ray LaMontagne playing on the laptop... that table in our little, rented room became our confession box.
Whispering into the late evening hours... laughing... sharing our hearts. Nourishment for our aching and weary souls. Burdens revealed and lifted for a sweet, short while.
After being apart for nearly a year and a half, a weekend of bliss with my sister........
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
My alarm woke me at 5:15, as I was in our church's Easter play this year and we were performing it during the Sunrise Service. I got up in the pre-dawn light and shuffled about quietly, so as not to awake my other two sleeping beauties. It was a quiet drive to church and Easter morning dawned gloriously....albeit being quite chilly. It was a 'big sky' day, as I call them here in the mountains..... when the skies are clear and vast, with just specklings of clouds.
Easter Sunday is always very special for me, even more so than Christmas. The hope and celebration resonate in me. The celebration and joy that came after 3 days of darkness.... three days of hopelessness and despair.... deadness... when Jesus' followers thought the Light had gone away forever.... not quite believing His promise that He would rise from the dead.
As one who has struggled with depression in her life, the hope that my Saviour brings....the promise that there will always be a Resurrection morning, is what keeps rivers of Life flowing in my heart and soul. Despite dark times and times of sadness, I have always been a relentlessly optimistic, hopeful person and see beauty in the journey, even during the dark times. And I'm always reminded of that on Easter morning. Colors are more vibrant, light seems brighter, and hope springs eternal, when you view the world in light of the resurrection.
I hope all of you had as beautiful a Resurrection Day as I....
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Would your breath suck all the warmth from my bones? Or could mine ignite the tiny ember that is still ablaze in your heart?
Inhale...... I'll breathe on you.....
Exhale...... You breathe on me.....
I want to see.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Sunday, March 09, 2008
And since our hubbies wouldn't dance, Fiddlegirl and I waltzed together. I made her be the guy. :) It was a fun night.... a perfect remedy for winter blahs, which I think we all had.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
When I took my son to his first day of Kindergarten this past fall, we walked past the school flower beds and I noticed how overgrown they were. I could tell that someone had put a lot of effort into them at some point, but they had been sadly neglected for quite a while. "What a waste", I thought.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
when i need to go to town, i go out of my way to drive past your farm..... even though it is not 'on the way'. as i crest the hill, i look down into the valley, and see the yellow farmhouse sitting there with smoke coming out of the chimney, and i imagine you as a boy, running through the yard, playing in the creek.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
sometimes, at night... alone in my bed....thoughts arise and get too big for my head...
the moon shines in and beckons me, saying, 'come, and keep me company'...
so i rise and go out alone in the dark...there's enough room out there for the longings in my heart..... the endless thoughts and possibilities.... yes, there's room for them all, out in the night breeze....
just the moon for my company... lingering thoughts surrounding me.... dreams and visions beckoning me.... when it's just the moon and me.
(the lunar eclipse starts tonight around 9 p.m... there won't be another one like this until 2010.....)
Monday, February 18, 2008
in anticipation of this....
I love the people I have met in this blogging community of mine. There are so many wonderful, creative souls. One being L.L. Barkat.... and I couldn't be happier for her as her new book is arriving within the next couple of weeks. I am anxiously awaiting its arrival and my heart is eager for the revelations in it.
Great reviews are already coming in, such as these:
"Stone Crossings walks the reader through the foggy landscapes of life, arriving at subtle moments of true grace. Barkat's courageous, unblinking honesty is a gift, a gift offered in gentle, delicate, literary prose." (Don Everts, author of Jesus with Dirty Feet and God in the Flesh)
"With a storyteller's charm and a Bible teacher's grit, L. L. Barkat weaves memoir, humor and spiritual insight together into a satisfying read. She challenges us to open our eyes anew to the amazing graces God lavishes upon us every day, in ordinary and surprising ways." (Edward Gilbreath, author of Reconciliation Blues)
And there is a party going on here, at her bookclub site, as we all await the arrival. This post is part of the celebration. If you'd like to participate in the "Waiting for Stone Crossings" challenge, go to the Bookclub Wiki and you can post your own 'waiting' picture. It's a great opportunity for us to give a boost to a fellow blogger's creative endeavors. You can also contact L.L. through her blog here, or contact me for more info on how to participate.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
love is.... a mother who sews little dresses for her daughter's dolls, who snuggles and reads to her even though she has lots of other things to be doing, who praises every accomplishment, no matter how small..... who's there in the room when her daughter is giving birth for the first time to lend encouragement and support.
love is..... a son that wakes up every morning and greets his parents with a big smile and so much excitement for the day, that he can hardly contain it.... who can change his mom's frown to a fit of laughter in a millisecond with something he says..... who tells his mom he loves her and is sorry for upsetting her, even though it was she who unduly lost her temper with him....who loves to serve his mom breakfast in bed on saturday mornings.
love is ...... a friend who shares coffee, laughter, and tears with you.... who 'gets' you like no one else....who tells you 'leave your son here and go home and rest for the day' when you walk to her house sobbing when life circumstances feel like they are too much to bear... someone you know your deepest secrets will always be safe with.
love is.... a God that stoops down to my weaknesses and draws me up to Him and invites me to dance with Him.... who never turns His back on me, even when I turn my back on Him..... who loves me so much that at times, I feel my heart will burst for the knowledge of it.... who rescued me from myself... and who never fails to paint a glorious sunrise or sunset over my mountains just for me.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Cloths of Heaven...
Friday, February 08, 2008
and you wonder why i can't accept your love?
well, i know what love is.
it's broken promises..... bruises.... and fear.....
so now anger and hurt are my guide.... and i don't want you inside.
i'm ten years old..... i can make it on my own.
but before i go to sleep tonight.....
Thursday, February 07, 2008
In the midst of our beautiful West Virginia mountains, there is a wolf in sheep's clothing. This wolf touts what a great thing he is for our state, how we wouldn't be able to survive without him. And he is on the prowl......
This wolf is King Coal. For over a century, Coal Companies have been making billions of dollars by extracting coal from our mountains, while West Virginia's people remain the second poorest in the nation. And now Coal Companies have found an even MORE profitable way to mine coal, that basically takes the coal miner out of the picture. This process is called Mountaintop Removal Mining.
Everyday in our state, three million pounds of explosives are used to literally blow the tops off of mountains to get to the coal seams below. So far, over 470 of our ancient mountains have been destroyed. All of the debris is then dumped into the valleys and streams below, so far burying over 1200 miles of streams. And now, with Governor Manchin's announcement that he wants to expand coal operations to make WV a coal-based economy and build 10 coal-to-liquid plants, Mountaintop Removal practices will continue to expand despite the fact that mountaintop removal accounted for less than 5% of US coal production as of 2001. According to a report from the US Geologic Survey in 2000, the Appalachian coal basin will not continue providing coal for much longer.
This is a very short-sighted energy goal, leaving WV's landscape devastated for short-term energy needs for the rest of the country. What does this mean for the residents of Appalachia's coalfields? So far, it has meant catastrophic flooding from the burying and re-routing of streams, the destruction of the mountains that their ancestors have lived in for generations, and contaminated drinking water from leaking toxic sludge dams. Impoundments are notoriously leaky, contaminating drinking water supplies in many communities, and are also known to fail completely. A sludge dam breach in Martin County, KY, in 2000, sent more than 300 million gallons of toxic coal sludge into tributaries of the Big Sandy, causing what the EPA called, “The biggest environmental disaster ever east of the Mississippi."
So far, Governor Manchin and Senator Byrd have turned a deaf ear to the residents of the coalfields, who have been crying out, "Our children are sick, our water is poisoned, and our mountains are no longer there!" Our politicians are only hearing the voice of Coal and its money. Mountaintop Mining is devastating Appalachia and no one knows or cares. It's time to speak up and help our fellow West Virginians. Call your representative and urge him/her to support the Clean Water Protection Act (H.R. 2169). This Act is necessary to protect clean drinking water for many of our nation’s cities and to protect the quality of life for Appalachian coalfield residents. You can go to ilovemountains.org and 700mountains.org to find out more.
"I look to the hills from whence cometh my strength......"
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Monday, February 04, 2008
Remember, this week is Blogging for Appalachia week.... a challenge started by Denny and the Outdoor Bloggers Summit, to encourage people to post about Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining. Posts are starting to come in, even internationally. I am going to start a link list here, so remember to let me know if you participate. If you'd like to know more about MTR coal mining, you can click on that label on this post, or go to "Stop Mountaintop Removal" under my links list. Thanks all!
Saturday, February 02, 2008
The big picture...
And just for sh**s and giggles... (pun intended)
Stay warm, everyone......
Thursday, January 31, 2008
A very exciting project is in the works, folks! As you all know, I am very passionate about putting an end to the destructive practice of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining. I have to temper my posts about it, so that I don't drive all my readers away. :)
Well, in the process of blogging about MTR issues and action steps, I have connected with some other bloggers who are spreading the word, including Denny, over at Backwoods Drifter. He is just as passionate about ending MTR as I am, and some lively discussions have been going on over at his site.
In the same conundrum as I about the topic being somewhat all-consuming, he is beginning a blog entirely devoted to MTR awareness, issues, and action steps and has invited me to be a contributing author, along with another blogger. The link is in my sidebar: 'Stop Mountaintop Removal Blog'. I invite you to stop over and tell Denny 'Hi', and continue to check in regularly to see what is going on in the fight against the destruction of our mountains. I am sure more lively discussions will be happening and I am excited that the word is spreading and people are uniting against this atrocity.
"A strand of three cords is not easily broken....."
(Oh, and just a side-note... to get an idea about how bad the Coal propaganda is in our mountains, go to This post by Denny. It's about these ridiculous commercials that Walker Machinery (which supplies the big machinery for MTR sites) has out. )