Saturday, November 21, 2009


Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it's mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

This poem was posted at A Land of Deepest Shade by Stephen Mills. Go take a look at his blog to view the snapshot of the empty chairs that inspired him to share these words.

Monday, August 31, 2009

We're all here for a family reunion . . .

Here we are . . . 

gathered together again . . .
on this . . . 

our Reunion Day.

and laughing 
and crying . . .
about all of our yesterdays.

Those special times . . . 

we vow ne'er to forget . . .
as the years . . . 

how they seem to fly.

And our precious loved ones . . . 
so sorely missed . . .
as one-by-one . . . 

they have said, "good-bye."

But for now . . . 

I believe they are with us . . .
and if we could hear them . . . 

perhaps they would say,

"May the circle once again be unbroken . . .
on this . . . Our Reunion Day."

And as we travel on . . . 

through life's unknown days . . .
may we anticipate that day up in Heaven,

When we'll all gather 'round . . . 
and once again hear them say . . .

"We're all here for a Family Reunion!"


P.S. I vaguely remember being inspired to pen these words by something I read . . . somewhere. While Googling parts of the above poem, the poem posted > HERE < is the only thing similar that came up.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I've been taking pictures all my life, even before I had a camera.

"I've been taking pictures all my life,
even before I had a camera."

Sabrina Fairchild in the 1995 remake of Sabrina

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ghosts of forgotten memories

Alex Haley is often quoted as having likened the death of an old person to the burning of a library . . . such a tragic loss of the many and varied pages and chapters of the assorted books of a unique life . . . and even more so if others have not listened to and remembered and memorialized the stories . . . then they just vanish . . . like ghosts of forgotten memories . . .

Remembering . . . Alexander Palmer Haley . . . born 11th August 1921 in Ithaca, New York . . . died 10th February 1992 in Seattle, Washington . . .

Monday, August 3, 2009

Inspiration . . . will feed your soul . . .

Inspiration is not just some flight of fancy.
It is the air you breathe;
the water you gulp down when you are thirsty;
the bread that fills your belly.
The process and products of your creative work
will feed your soul, if you let them.

Molly Anderson-Childers

Saturday, July 4, 2009

God Bless America


"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer."

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

God Bless America
Words and music by Irving Berlin

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Do not stand at my grave and weep . . .

Gentle Autumn's Rain

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glint on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain

When you wake in the morning hush
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft starlight at night
I am the song that will never end
I am the love of family and friend

I am the child who has come to rest
In the arms of the Father  who knows him best
When you see the sunset fair
I am the scented evening air
I am the joy of a task well done
I am the glow of the setting sun

Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die

Original verse by Mary Frye (1932)
Additional verse by Wilbur Skeels (1996)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Born 25th May 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts
Died 27th April 1882 in Concord Massachusetts

The love that is in me, the justice, the truth can never die & that is all of me that will not die. All the rest of me is so much death— my ignorance, my vice, my corporeal pleasure. But I am nothing else than a capacity for justice, truth, love, freedom, power. I can inhale, imbibe them forevermore. They shall be so much to me that I am nothing, they all. Then shall God be all in all. Herein is my Immortality. (October 24, 1836)

I said when I awoke, After some more sleepings & wakings I shall lie on this mattress sick; then dead; and through my glad entry they will carry these bones. Where shall I be then? I lift my head and beheld the spotless orange light of the morning beaming up from the dark hills into the wide Universe. (October 21, 1837)

The event of death is always astounding; our philosophy never reaches, never possesses it; we are always at the beginning of our catechism; alwasys the definition is yet to be made, What is Death? I see nothing to help beyond observing what the mind's habit is in regard to that crisis. Simply, I have nothing to do with it. It is nothing to me. After I have made my will & set my house in order, I shall do in the immediate expectation of death the same things I should do without it. (October 28, 1837)

Life & Death are apparitions. Last night the Teachers' Sunday School met here & the theme was Judgment. I affirmed that we were Spirits now incarnated & should always be Spirits incarnated. Our thought is the income of God. I taste therefore of eternity & pronounce of eternal law Now & not hereafter. Space & time are but forms of thought. I proceed from God now & ever shall so proceed. Death is but an appearance. Yes & life's circumstances are but an appearance through which the firm virtue of this God-law penetrates & which it moulds. The inertia of matter & of fortune & of our employment is the feebleness of our spirit. (May 14, 1838)

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Journals

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Mother's Heart

A mother's heart is a saving bank,
Where the love you deposit lies,
Gathering interest day by day,
From the sunshine of the skies.
There isn't a safer place my lad,
To bury the treasure you'd keep
Than down in its beautiful vaults of dreams
Where the tenderest blossoms sleep.
A mother's heart is the place to hide
Whatever you'd treasure best
For she'll give it back as the years go by
In a love that's more than rest.

A mother's heart is a storage vault,
Where nothing breaks in to steal
Except the honor you fail to pay
And the love you forget to feel.
A love you have placed there once remains,
And you may forget, but she
Will give it back, if you want it so,
And smile as she hands the key.
Smile, but never forget, my lad,
That a smile is the saddest thing
When it's over the ashes of something dead
And the heart is a broken wing!

A mother's heart is a fortress strong,
Where your foes may never come,
With prancing steeds and gleaming sword,
And the rat-tat of the drum.
For that which you treasure she will defend,
And loud as the guns may roll,
She'll stand in the breech to the very end --
And then she will fight with her soul.
A mother's heart -- I would rather trust
My all unto that, I know
For love in the keeping of such a place
Will grow as the blossoms grow.

-- author unknown --

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Carved in Stone
Lay the green sod o'er me
carve my name in stone
lay the green sod o'er me
the soldier has come home.

Barry Sadler (1940-1989)
American Singer, Soldier and Songwriter

Human memory

is a marvelous
but fallacious instrument.
The memories

which lie within us
are not carved in stone;
not only

do they tend to become erased
as the years go by,
but often they change,
or even increase

by incorporating extraneous features.

Primo Levi (1919-1987)
Italian Author, Writer and Chemist

Carve not upon a stone

when I am dead,
The praises which

remorseful mourners give;
To women's graves -

a tardy recompense,
But speak them while I live.

Elizabeth Akers Allen

Just because it's carved in stone

does NOT mean it's true!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

In Flanders Fields


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918) on this date . . . the 3rd day of May . . . in the year 1915 . . . after he witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, only 22 years old, the day before.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

May 1925. Elizabeth Marilla Henry nee Smith (1912-1932)

Happy May Day

The fair maid who, the first of May
Goes to the fields at break of day
And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree
Will ever after handsome be.

Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme

A delicate fabric of bird song
Floats in the air,
The smell of wet wild earth
Is everywhere.
Oh I must pass nothing by
Without loving it much,
The raindrop try with my lips,
The grass with my touch;
For how can I be sure
I shall see again
The world on the first of May
Shining after the rain?

Sara Teasdale, May Day

Sweet May hath come to love us,
Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The very clouds move on.

Heinrich Heine, Book of Songs

I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers:
Of April, May, or June, and July flowers.
I sing of Maypoles, Hock-carts, wassails, wakes,
Of bridegrooms, brides, and of the bridal cakes.
Robert Herrick, Hesperides, 1648

Now the bright morning-star, Day’s harbinger,
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire!
Woods and groves are of thy dressing;
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

John Milton, Song on a May Morning, 1660

The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven --
All's right with the world!

Robert Browning, The Year's at the Spring

Oh! that we two were Maying
Down the stream of the soft spring breeze;
Like children with violets playing,
In the shade of the whispering trees.

Charles Kingsley

Ye may trace my step o'er the wakening earth,
By the winds which tell of the violet's birth,
By the primrose-stars in the shadowy grass,
By the green leaves opening as I pass.

Felicia Hemans

The May-pole is up,
Now give me the cup;
I'll drink to the garlands around it;
But first unto those
Whose hands did compose
The glory of flowers that crown'd it.
Robert Herrick, The Maypole, 1660

I cannot tell you how it was,
But this I know: it came to pass
Upon a bright and sunny day
When May was young; ah, pleasant May!
As yet the poppies were not born
Between the blades of tender corn;
The last egg had not hatched as yet,
Nor any bird foregone its mate.

I cannot tell you what it was,
But this I know: it did but pass.
It passed away with sunny May,
Like all sweet things it passed away,
And left me old, and cold, and gray.

Christina Georgina Rossetti, May, 1880

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The reunion of tomorrow

Mark Twain quotations on death . . .

  • Death is the starlit strip
    between the companionship of yesterday
    and the reunion of tomorrow.

    . . . on a monument erected to Mark Twain & Ossip Gabrilowitsch

  • It has been reported that I was seriously ill --
    it was another man;
    dying -- it was another man;
    dead -- the other man again . . .
    As far as I can see,
    nothing remains to be reported,
    except that I have become a foreigner.
    When you hear it, don't you believe it.
    And don't take the trouble to deny it.
    Merely just raise the American flag
    on our house in Hartford
    and let it talk.

    . . . Letter to Frank E. Bliss, 11/4/1897

Remembering our cousin . . .
Samuel Langhorne Clemens
30 November 1835 ~ 21 April 1910

Texas Toasts

  • "Texas, - May her foes turn pale at her name,
    and may she flourish until time is no more."
  • "Soldiers of Texas; -
    May their "breast works" be honor,
    and fear always a days "march" behind them."

On April 21, 1837 -- one year after the Battle of San Jacinto -- a celebration was held in Liberty, Texas. The May 9, 1837 edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register newspaper (published in Houston, Texas) contained a write-up about that celebration. K K Searle posted the text of that article over at That blogpost is entitled Texas Toasts . . . make sure you go read the rest of the story . . .

Monday, April 20, 2009

Begotten and never forgotten

I can sense them calling out to me
From the gloaming of my past

"Please do not let us be forgot.
Record our stories that we may last."

From an original poem posted at .: BeNotForgot :. which was composed for Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Poetry and Genealogy.

Graves of our fathers . . .

"Who are these graves we know not,
Only know they are our fathers."

From a post by . . . :: footnoteMaven :: . . . about an 1887 Guide to Genealogists on How To Write The History of a Family.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We are formed by our family histories

How easy it is to forget from where family has come and how far. How easy to forget, as I sit at my computer, my grandfather's battered lunch pail, and my grandmother leaning over an aluminum tub with a washboard and Grandpa's soapy shirt. Such knowledge brings humility. It demands gratitude. We are formed, in part, by our family histories. . . . from Family history is more than names by Tina Griego, Denver Post Columnist

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gossamer veil

On Easter Day
the veil
between time
and eternity
to gossamer.

Douglas Horton


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

One thought of me

The following verse is from a 19th century friendship album that belonged to Berta Mary Henry nee Sharp (1873-1955)

Dear Berta

Fond Memory, come and hover o'er
This album page of my fair friend,
Enrich her from thy precious store,
And recollections send.

If on this page she chance to gaze
In years to come -- where'er she be --
Tell her of earlier happy days,
And bring her back one thought of me.

Nina Bowling

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Penned with care

The following verse is from a 19th century friendship album that belonged to Berta Mary Henry nee Sharp (1873-1955)

Miss Berta

In the book of life
Gods album
May your name be
Penned with care
And may all who
Here have written
Write their names
Forever there.

Your friend

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Shades of Evening

". . . Thus was his fair dawn of life, whilst his cloudless sun was nearing its meridian, in a moment veiled in the shades of death. . . . As the stars of heaven shine brighter at the close of day when the shades of evening gather over the earth, even so do his virtues beam with brighter lustre from the darkness of the silent tomb: and long shall it be ere there shall cease to be found in memory's waste, a green spot watered by the tears of affection for him who is gone."

Centennial History of Harrison, Maine: Containing the Centennial Celebration of 1905, and Historical and Biographical Matter :: By Alphonso Moulton, Howard L. Sampson, Granville Fernald :: Published by the authority of the town, 1909 :: Original from Harvard University :: Digitized Aug 21, 2006 :: 727 pages

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Gaelic Blessing

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rains fall soft upon your fields
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

A Gaelic Blessing --
from Taylor's Memorial Service

Friday, March 27, 2009

I will reach back . . .

I will call to the past, 
to the beginning of time, 
and beg them to come 
and help me at the judgment. 

I will reach back 
and draw them into me, 
and they must come, 
for at this moment, 
I am the whole reason 
they have existed at all.
Memorable quotes for the movie, Amistad (1997)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A hundred year old photograph

A hundred year old photograph
Stares out from a frame
And if you look real close you'll see
Our eyes are just the same

I never met them face to face
But I still know them well
From the stories
My dear grandma would tell . . .

They're my guardian angels
And I know they can see
Ev'ry step I take
They are watching over me

I might not know where I'm goin'
But I'm sure where I come from
They're my guardian angels
And I'm their special one

Words & Music by
Don Schlitz, John Jarvis & Naomi Judd
Copyright 1989
Song Name: Guardian Angels
Artist Name: The Judds
Album: The Essential Judds
Release Date: October 10, 1995 (my Dad's last birthday on this earth)
Label: RCA Records

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Here timelessness lived

. . . there should be,

in every life,
a place . . .
where you could come
and visit your past,
and the past of your people,
and know that
whatever happened outside,
here timelessness lived.

Anne Rivers Siddons, Novelist

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

People of a distant past . . .

The pleasantest
of all diversions
is to sit alone
under the lamp,

a book spread out before you,
and to make friends
with people
of a distant past
you have never known.

14th Century Japanese Writer
Essays in Idleness

Monday, March 23, 2009

Life is no brief candle to me

Life is no brief candle to me.
It is a sort of splendid torch
which I have got a hold of
for the moment,
and I want to make it burn
as brightly as possible
before handing it on
to future generations.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Irish literary Critic, Playwright and Essayist
1925 Nobel Prize for Literature

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Who knows whether 

the best of men be known,
or whether there be not
more remarkable persons forgot
than any that stand remembered
in the known account of time?

Chapter V, Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial (1658)
by Sir Thomas Browne

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Stars that can laugh

In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night . . . you -- only you -- will have stars that can laugh! . . . And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure . . . and your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, "Yes, the stars always make me laugh!" And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you . . . It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh. . . .

From "The Little Prince" written & drawn by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I watched the new Lee Ann Rimes movie last night, and she made reference to this quotation. I had quoted "The Little Prince" eight years ago in a tribute to Dale Earnhardt (1951-2001) -- yes, we are NASCAR fans! And my husband races every weekend on Texas dirt tracks.

I have a hope beyond the grave

It is now night
and all is silent.
I am here alone
and in silence 

all my past friends
with all my relations
fall heavy on my mind.

They all are gone,
and I too must soon follow.

To be laid in the dust 

in the silent grave
and there to be 

forever forgotten
makes the cold chills 

run over my whole body.

I have a hope beyond the grave.

That hope is that 

when I am consigned 
to my grave,
someone on the earth 

might remember me.

From the Diary of Joseph Kemp
April 1, 1853

From The Tri-County Genealogical Society in Missouri. Found today while researching Cole Younger (a distant cousin), who died on this date in 1916. A fellow blogger once had this quote featured on their family history blog, stating that they first heard it on the BYU channel while watching the series, "Ancestors." I have not yet (as of 2009) found other references to a diary of a Joseph Kemp.