Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dion - Abraham, Martin And John

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
You know, I just looked around and he's gone.

Anybody here seen my old friend John?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
I just looked around and he's gone.

Anybody here seen my old friend Martin?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
I just looked 'round and he's gone.

Didn't you love the things that they stood for?
Didn't they try to find some good for you and me?
And we'll be free
Some day soon, and it's a-gonna be one day ...

Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
I thought I saw him walkin' up over the hill,
With Abraham, Martin and John.

"Abraham, Martin and John" is a 1968 song written by Dick Holler and first recorded by Dion. It is a tribute to the memories of icons of social change, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. It was written as a response to the assassinations of King and the younger Kennedy in April and June 1968.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Getting enough vitamin D?

About one third of Americans are not getting enough vitamin D, a government report says.

One third of Americans are lacking vitamin D

By Mary Brophy Marcus, USA TODAY

The report, out Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), parallels what many other studies have suggested in recent years: that a large chunk of the population is at risk for low vitamin D levels.

About two-thirds had sufficient levels, but about a third were in ranges suggesting risk of either inadequate or deficient levels, says report author Anne Looker, a research scientist with the CDC.

Late last year, the Institute of Medicine recommended new daily intakes for calcium and vitamin D when it comes to bone health. They also defined four categories based on results from a common vitamin D blood test, called a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25OHD. Looker applied the institutes's four categories (vitamin D sufficiency, risk of deficiency, risk of inadequacy and levels that are possibly too high) to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to get the figures.

Sufficient levels are 20 to 50 nanograms per milliliter. Inadequate (unhealthy) levels are 12 to 19 ng/ml. Below 12 ng/ml flags a deficiency; bones are at risk for disease.

The results aren't surprising, says vitamin D researcher Marian Evatt, assistant professor of neurology at the VA Medical Center and Emory University in Atlanta.
Good sources of vitamin D

Few foods are naturally vitamin D-rich; fortified dairy and cereal products often are your best bets. The Institute of Medicine recommends 600 International Units (IUs) a day for adults:

Foods and IUs per serving

• Cod liver oil (1 Tbsp.), 1,360

• Salmon (3.5 oz., cooked), 360

• Mackerel (3.5 oz., cooked), 345

• Sardines (1.75 oz., canned
in oil, drained), 250

• Tuna (3 oz., canned in oil), 200

• Milk (1 cup vitamin D-fortified), 98

• Margarine (1 Tbsp. fortified), 60

• Egg (1 whole), 20

• Liver, beef (3.5 oz. cooked), 15

• Swiss cheese (1 oz.), 12

Source: National Institutes of Health,
Office of Dietary Supplements

"The known risk factors for having low vitamin D levels include getting older, being overweight and having chronic conditions. We're an aging, increasing-girth demographic," she says.

Numerous health problems have been linked to low vitamin D levels, including bone fractures, Parkinson's disease, diabetes and certain cardiovascular outcomes, cancers and autoimmune conditions, Evatt says.

Foods rich in vitamin D include fortified orange juice, cereals and milk, as well as salmon and eggs, says Holly Clegg, author of the Trim & Terrific cookbook series. Also, exposure to sunlight triggers the body's production of vitamin D, Evatt says.

Looker says the report shows the risk of vitamin D deficiency differs by age, sex, race and ethnicity.

"Deficiency was lower in people who were younger, male or non-Hispanic white, and in pregnant or lactating women," she says.

First Flowers

Galanthus (Snowdrop; Greek gála "milk", ánthos "flower") is a small genus of about 20 species of bulbous herbaceous plants in the Amaryllis family. Most flower in winter, before the vernal equinox (21 March in the Northern Hemisphere), but certain species flower in early spring and late autumn.


Finally I have a few snowdrops blooming. It has been such a cold early spring we still have big patches of snow in the yard. As the "snow" in their name suggests, snowdrops are among the earliest bloomers in the yard. Depending on your region, they will bloom in February or March. Snowdrops may not even wait for the snow to melt before emerging from their winter sleep, instead pushing right up through the snow -- a delightful sight for the winter-weary!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Pools

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods---
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

By Robert Frost


To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots,
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Monday, March 28, 2011

Antidepressants ,everyone needs to watch this.

A young friend of mine who is still a teen is determined to take antidepressants because her father does and she is depressed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that all depression medications include a warning label about the increased risk of suicide in children and young adults. It is making me so sad. These meds really mess with your personality, destroy your sex drive and cause weight gain. I would not recommend them unless you have tried everything else including exercising, getting better sleep habits and working on a better diet. Counseling can be very helpful but it takes up allot of time and money so its not done as often as it used to be. These drugs make drug companies billions so we need to ask are they being prescribed too often. See my post called Musings of a New World Shepherd for more on my experiences with anti-depressants. The USA is the biggest consumer of these medications in the world. I am still dealing with the fallout from the weight gain and have not been on these for 7 years! These medications destroy your sex drive which should be an indicator they do allot more than the drug companies are telling you. Everyone needs to watch this because almost everyone in the USA has a friend or relative taking these medications.

April Snow In Kansas

I thank the April snow,
Whose magic sent from wood
And field a hungry brood
To be my friends a blessed day or so;___

Hedge sparrows, yellow-billed,
Black-capped, the cardinal
Of joyous heart, and all
The mouse-breast juncos. To my board crumb-filled

With the snow they came, and now
As softly as snow thaws
They are gone, their little claws
Clasping hedge twigs again or woodland bough.

by William Savage Johnson

Friday, March 25, 2011

Are You An Anxiety Junkie? 7 Strategies To Break The Addiction

Our world is in the midst of an emotional meltdown. As a psychiatrist, I've seen that many people are addicted to the adrenaline rush of anxiety, known as the "fight or flight" response, and they don't know how to defuse it. An example of this is obsessively watching the news about natural disasters, trauma, economic stress and violence, and then not being able to turn bad news off. Also, people are prone to "techno-despair" -- a term I coined in my book, "Emotional Freedom." This is a state of high anxiety that results from information overload and Internet addiction. It's also related to our super-dependence on smartphones and the panic of feeling disconnected if technology breaks down and we can't access emails or other communications -- a new version of what's psychiatrically known as an "attachment disorder." I've helped many patients address the adverse effects of techno-despair, such as insomnia, nightmares, restless sleep and ongoing angst. You, too, can break your addiction to anxiety and lead a more peaceful life.

Am I Addicted To Anxiety?

To determine your current level of anxiety, ask yourself:
Do I worry about many things every day?

Is it difficult to stop watching anxiety-provoking news on TV or the Internet, though I try?

Do I experience separation anxiety when I can't access my smartphone or computer?

Do I make problems larger, not smaller?

Do I worry about things that no one around me worries about?

When one anxiety is solved, do I immediately focus on another?

If you answered "yes" to all six questions, worry plays a very large, addictive role in your life. Four to five "yes" answers indicate a large role. Two to three "yes" answers indicate a moderate role. One"yes" indicates a low level. Zero "yes" answers suggest that you're more warrior than worrier!

To quiet anxiety and turn off your flight-or-flight response, it's important to re-train your brain to send chemicals to counteract this powerful biological response. Otherwise, anxiety can become an addiction. In contrast, with a calm biology, you can generate endorphins -- the blissful natural painkillers in your body. To master your anxiety, practice the techniques below to quiet your system. They will help you achieve immediate and long-term results.

7 Strategies To Overcome Anxiety (From "Emotional Freedom")
Eliminate caffeine, sugar and other stimulants. These fuel the "fight or flight" response.

Avoid people who reinforce your fear, whom I call "emotional vampires." They are biological irritants. Stick close to positive people. (See my previous post, "Who's the Emotional Vampire in Your Life?")

Stay away from violent newscasts, arguments, the Internet, paying bills or other stress inducers, especially before sleep.

Set healthy limits and boundaries. To combat stress, it's important to realize that "No" is a complete sentence, and a healthy way to set limits and boundaries with stress-inducing people and situations.

Pause when agitated. Make this vow: "I will never have a conversation with someone, send an email, or make a decision when gripped by anxiety." No matter what the upset is, do not act until you have gained calm and composure.

Use this Progressive Relaxation Technique. In a comfortable position, sitting or lying down, take a few deep breaths while letting your body go as limp as possible. When you're ready, begin by tightening the muscles in your toes. Hold to a count of 10, and then relax. Enjoy the relief of tension melting. Do the same with flexing your foot muscles, and move slowly through your entire body: calves, legs, stomach, back, neck, jaw and face, contracting and releasing each area.

Stay in "the now." Try not to project negative scenarios about the future. Stay solution-oriented in the present moment and be grateful for what is positive in your life.

Being aware of what triggers your anxiety and mindfully making choices to cope with them provides emotional freedom. Then you won't simply be reacting when your buttons get pushed. You will be better able to take charge of your emotions and your life.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Psalm 147:12-18

Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!...
He gives snow like wool;
He scatters the frost like ashes.
He casts forth His ice as fragments,
Who can stand before His cold?
He sends forth His word and melts them
He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow

4-5 inches of wet snow now on the ground

Spring Snow poem

by Linda Gregerson

A kind of counter-
blossoming, diversionary,

doomed, and like
the needle with its drop

of blood a little
too transparently in

love with doom, takes
issue with the season: Not

(the serviceberry bright
with explanation) not

(the redbud unspooling
its silks) I know I've read

the book but not (the lilac,
the larch) quite yet, I still

have one more card to
play. Behold

a six-hour wonder: six
new inches bedecking the

railing, the bench, the top
of the circular table like

a risen cake. The saplings
made (who little thought

what beauty weighs) to bow
before their elders.

The moment bears more
than the usual signs of its own

demise, but isn't that
the bravery? Built

on nothing but the self-
same knots of air

and ice. Already
the lip of it riddled

with flaws, a sort
of vascular lesion that

betokens—what? betokens
the gathering return

to elementals. (She
was frightened

for a minute, who had
planned to be so calm.)

A dripline scoring
the edge of the walk.

The cotton batting blown
against the screen begun

to pill and molt. (Who
clothed them out of

mercy in the skins
of beasts.) And even

as the last of the
lightness continues

to fall, the seepage
underneath has gained

momentum. (So that
there must have been a

death before
the death we call the

first or what became
of them, the ones

whose skins were taken.)
Now the more-

forward part, which must

have happened while I wasn't
looking or was looking

at the skinning knives. I think
I'll call this mercy too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Snow

Spring Snow, March 22, 2011

Britten - A Ceremony of Carols, Spring Carol

Benjamin Britten's
Opus 28, for 3-part treble chorus and harp
Sung by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge
Harp: Frances Kelly
Conductor: Richard Marlow

Spring carol

Pleasure it is to hear iwis, the birdès sing.
The deer in the dale, the sheep in the vale,
The corn springing.

God’s purvayance for sustenance,
It is for man, it is for man.

Then we always to give him praise,
And thank him than.

William Cornish

Monday, March 21, 2011


by Colin Campbell

Pretty little snowdrop,
show off while you can.
Beneath the melting snow
the bluebells wait in line.

Elegy - Written in Spring

'Tis past: the iron North has spent his rage;
Stern Winter now resigns the lengthening day,
The stormy howlings of the winds assuage,
And warm o'er ether western breezes play.

Of genial heat and cheerful light the source,
From summer climes, beneath another sky,
The sun, returning, wheels his golden course:
Before his beams all noxious vapors fly.

Far to the north grim Winter draws his train,
To his own clime, to Zembla's frozen shore;
Where, throned on ice, he holds eternal reign;
Where whirlwinds madden, and where tempests roar.

Loosed from the bands of frost, the verdant ground
Again puts on her robe of cheerful green,
Again puts forth her flowers; and all around
Smiling, the cheerful face of Spring is seen.

Behold! the trees new deck their withered boughs;
Their ample leaves, the hospitable plane,
The taper elm, and lofty ash disclose;
The blooming hawthorn variegates the scene.

The lily of the vale, of flowers the queen,
Puts on the robe she neither sewed nor spun;
The birds on ground, or on the branches green,
Hop to and fro, and glitter in the sun.

Soon as o'er eastern hills the morning peers,
From her low nest the tufted lark upsprings;
And, cheerful singing, up the air she steers;
Still high she mounts, still loud and sweet she sings.

Now is the time for those who wisdom love,
Who love to walk in virtue's flowery road,
Along the lovely paths of Spring to rove,
And follow Nature up to Nature's God.

Meaning of unusual words:
Zembla = Nova Zembla is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in the north of Russia

by Michael Bruce (1746-1767)

Early Spring

Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadows' wintry grey.
Little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,

hesitantly, reach toward the earth
from space, and country lanes are showing
these unexpected subtle risings
that find expression in the empty trees.

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Song

by Robert Louis Stevenson

THE air was full of sun and birds,
The fresh air sparkled clearly.
Remembrance wakened in my heart
And I knew I loved her dearly.

The fallows and the leafless trees
And all my spirit tingled.
My earliest thought of love, and Spring's
First puff of perfume mingled.

In my still heart the thoughts awoke,
Came lone by lone together -
Say, birds and Sun and Spring, is Love
A mere affair of weather?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells - 1973 - Original

Sending this out to Mike in Fife!

Dark Ambient Space Music

Dark Ambient Space Music: Through The Ergosphere: Film Composer Simon Wilkinson

Gloomy Winter's Now Awa',

Performed by Dougie MacLean

Written by Robert Tannahill 1808

Gloomy winter's now awa',
Saft the westlan' breezes blaw,
'Mang the birks o' Stanley shaw
The mavis sings fu' cheery, O;
Sweet the crawflower's early bell
Decks Gleniffer's dewy dell,
Blooming like thy bonnie sel',
My young, my artless deary, O
Come, my lassie, let us stray
O'er Glenkilloch's sunny brae,
Blithely spend the gowden day
'Midst joys that never weary, O.
Towering o'er the Newton woods,
Lav'rocks fan the snaw-white clouds,
Siller saughs, wi' downy buds,
Adorn the banks sae briery, O;
Round the sylvan fairy nooks,
Feathery breckans fringe the rocks,
'Neath the brae the burnie jouks,
And ilka thing is cheery, O;
Trees may bud, and birds may sing
Flowers may bloom, and verdure spring,
Joy to me they canna' bring,
Unless wi' thee, my dearie, O.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day one more time.....

The Legend of the Shamrock

Long ago, when Ireland was the land of Druids, there was a great Bishop, Patrick by name, who came to teach the word of God throughout the country. This St. Patrick—for he was indeed a saint—was well loved everywhere he went. One day, however, a group of his followers came to him and admitted that it was difficult for them to believe in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

St. Patrick reflected a moment and then, stooping down, he plucked a leaf from the shamrock and held it before them, bidding them to behold the living example of the "Three-in-One." St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The simple beauty of this explanation convinced these skeptics, and from that day the shamrock has been revered throughout Ireland.

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius; Primitive Irish: *Qatrikias; Old Irish: Cothraige or Coithrige; Middle Irish: Pátraic; Irish: Pádraig; British: *Patrikios; Old Welsh: Patric; Middle Welsh: Padric; Welsh: Padrig; Old English: Patric; c. 387 – 17 March, 493)[5] was a Romano-Briton and Christian missionary, who is the most generally recognized patron saint of Ireland or the Apostle of Ireland, although Brigid of Kildare and Colmcille are also formally patron saints.

Two authentic letters from him survived, from which come the only universally accepted details of his life. When he was about 16, he was captured from Britain by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After entering the Church, he returned to Ireland as an ordained bishop in the north and west of the island, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

Most available details of his life are from later hagiographies from the 7th century onwards, and these are now not accepted without detailed criticism. Uncritical acceptance of the Annals of Ulster would imply that he lived from 340 to 440, and ministered in what is modern day Northern Ireland from 428 onwards. The dates of Patrick's life cannot be fixed with certainty, but on a widespread interpretation he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the 5th century.

Saint Patrick's Day is observed on March 17, the date of Patrick's death. It is celebrated both in and outside of Ireland, as both a liturgical and non-liturgical holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland it is both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation and outside of Ireland, it can be a celebration of Ireland itself

Maggie's St Patrick's Day Greetings

Maggie in St Patrick's Day Greetings from Years Past

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lead Kindly Light

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.

Lead, Kindly Light is a hymn with words written in 1833 by John Henry Newman as a poem titled "the Pillar of Cloud". In some hymnals, one may find a fourth verse added by Edward H. Bickersteth, Jr. It is usually sung to the tune Lux Benigna, composed by John Bacchus Dykes in 1865; or to Alberta, by William H Harris.

May the Road Rise Up (Libera)

The Irish Blessing

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

John 10:1-2

"Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep."

- John 10:1-2

Libera - Always With You

Always with you

Do you know me, who I am?
I am always with you
I am near you every day,
Always share what you do

Follow the path to anywhere,
A stranger in the world without you
Forever I will be there,
The shadow you always knew

Beati quorum via, integra est

If you think I’ve gone away,
And am never with you
I am not so far away,
Always shadowing you

The Eagle symbol of Saint John the Evangelist.

Brass Eagle Lectern in Greyfriars Church Edinburgh.

Photo by Beth Maxwell Boyle 2005

An eagle lectern is a lectern in the shape of an eagle. They are very common in Christian churches and cathedrals. The eagle is the symbol used to depict John the Apostle, whose writing most clearly witnesses the light and divinity of Christ. In art, John, as the presumed author of the Gospel, is often depicted with an eagle, which symbolizes the height he rose in the first chapter of his gospel.

The tradition of using eagle-shaped lecterns predates the Reformation. Medieval examples survive in a number of English churches, including the church of St Margaret in Kings Lynn, and the church of St Mary in Ottery St Mary.

The apostle most favored by the Celtic Church was John. It angered Rome who favored Paul and Peter. Eventually it lead to a major crackdown at the Synod of Whitby in 664. The roots of Celtic Christianity reach deep into the mysticism of St John the evangelist in the New Testament, and the wisdom tradition of the Old Testament. According to Celtic tradition, when St John leaned against Jesus at the Last Supper, he heard the heartbeat of God. Therefore, St John became a symbol of listening for the life of God in ourselves, and in all creation.

Carved lectern from St. Nicolas Church in High Bradfield in South Yorkshire, England.

photo by Beth Maxwell Boyle 2007

Eagle lectern Dunfermline Abbey Kirk

Photo by Beth Maxwell Boyle 2005

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hay delivery at Thistledown Croft

Some friends brought a load of hay yesterday and as you can see we still have a couple inches of snow everywhere.

The St. Patrick's Day Stained Glass

This is the St. Patrick's Day Stained Glass piece my Mother gave me last year. I enjoy this so much especially at this time of year. My Great Grandmother's surname name is Haynie and she died in the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918 in Wisconsin.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Gaudete, gaudete!
Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine:

Tempus adest gratiae,
Hoc quod optabamus
Carmina laetitiae
Devote reddamus.

Deus homo factus est
Natura mirante,
Mundus renovatus est

Ezechielis porta
Clausa pertransitur
Unde Lux est orta
Salus invenitur.

Ergo nostra contio
Psallat iam in lustro,
Benedicat Domino
Salus Regi nostro.

Gaudete ( "rejoice" in Latin) is a sacred Christmas carol, composed sometime in the 16th century. The song was published in Piae Cantiones, a collection of Finnish/Swedish sacred songs published in 1582. No music is given for the verses, but the standard tune comes from older liturgical books.

The Latin text is a typical medieval song of praise, which follows the standard pattern for the time - a uniform series of four-line stanzas, each preceded by a two-line refrain (in the early English carol this was known as the burden). Carols could be on any subject, but typically they were about the Virgin Mary, the Saints or Christmastide themes.

I first heard the Steeleye Span version in the 70s and fell in love with this song. This version is performed by Libera. For more on Libera see my last post. The rough English translation goes as follows:

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Christ is born
Of the Virgin Mary;

The time of grace has come
For which we have prayed
Let us devoutly sing
Songs of joy.

God is made man,
While nature wonders
The world is renewed
By Christ the King.

The closed gate of Ezekiel
Has been passed through
From where the light has risen [the East],
Salvation is found.

Therefore let our assembly sing praises now
At this time of purification
Let it bless the Lord:
Greetings to our King

Friday, March 11, 2011

Libera - How can I keep from Singing?

My life goes on in endless song:
Above earth's lamentation,
I catch the sweet, tho' far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul--
How can I keep from singing?
What tho' my joys and comfort die?
The Lord my Saviour liveth;
What tho' the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?
I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths,
Since first I learned to love it.
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing;
All things are mine since I am his--
How can I keep from singing?

"How Can I Keep From Singing?" (also known by its incipit "My Life Flows On in Endless Song") is a Christian hymn with music written by American Baptist minister Robert Wadsworth Lowry. The song is frequently, though erroneously, cited as a traditional Quaker hymn. The original composition has now entered into the public domain, and appears in several hymnals and song collection


About Libera

The distinctive sound of Libera has travelled the world in the last few years. The group's albums have topped both mainstream and classical charts in many countries, and their recordings hold their place in top-tens alongside major artists like Bocelli.

The boys who make up the vocal band Libera have been described as “normal” and “ordinary”. However, as their recordings and performances demonstrate, the music they produce is truly extraordinary. With shimmering, mystical chords and ecstatic harmonies, they are unlike any other group you have ever heard. These are truly sounds to lift the soul. Celestial sounds for a new time.

The singers of Libera who are aged seven to sixteen attend many different local schools in South London and come from a variety of backgrounds. Although they are boys and they sing, they do not think of themselves as choirboys, but rather as an alternative kind of boy band.

While the unique sound of Libera may be impossible to pigeonhole, its universal appeal has endeared the group to fans all over the world, particularly in the US, the UK, Korea and Japan, where their CDs top the mainstream and classical charts and where they pack concert halls appearing in their trademark flowing white robes on imaginatively lit stages.

In The Arms Of an Angel - Sarah McLaughlin

Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance
For a break that would make it okay
There’s always one reason
To feel not good enough
And it’s hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
Oh beautiful release
Memory seeps from my veins
Let me be empty
And weightless and maybe
I’ll find some peace tonight

In the arms of an angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there

So tired of the straight line
And everywhere you turn
There’s vultures and thieves at your back
And the storm keeps on twisting
You keep on building the lie
That you make up for all that you lack
It don’t make no difference
Escaping one last time
It’s easier to believe in this sweet madness oh
This glorious sadness that brings me to my knees

In the arms of an angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there
You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

I had to say goodbye today to Whisky

2002 -2011

3 inches of fresh snow tonight

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ewes in the mountains, Turcana sheep

Turcana sheep

The Turcana breed is well adapted in the Carpathian Mountains, resistant and the only one suitable for extensive traditional breeding. For centuries in high Romanian mountains the rural economy has been based on Turcana sheep milk, fiber and meat. Presently, this particular Romanian breed is endangered. These look like Scottish Blackface sheep in so many ways.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An Easter Hymn

This is Thomas Blackburn's "An Easter Hymn"
Music by Bach

Awake thou wintry earth,
Fling off thy sadness ;
Fair vernal flower, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness:
Christ is risen.

Wave, woods, your blossoms all,
Grim death is dead ;
Ye weeping funeral trees,
Lift up your head:
Christ is risen.

Come, see, the graves are green;
It is light; let's go
Where our loved ones rest
In hope below:
Christ is risen.

All is fresh and new,
Full of spring and light;
Wintry heart, why wearest the hue
Of sleep and night ?
Christ is risen.

Leave thy cares beneath,
Leave thy worldly love;
Begin the better life
With God above:
Christ is risen.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

All that is not of God must die

All that is crushed will be restored

All that is lost will be made new

God may we repent of ways that do not serve you

And admit to the tensions that tell us where we need to change

Christ is coming walking towards the cross

God may we see him clearly

Pouring out love

Pouring out mercy

Pouring out peace

May we kneel before him in humble adoration

May we take up our cross and follow

And walk with Christ into the ways of life

'Christ be with me, Christ within me

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger'.


Ash Wednesday 2011

Ash Wednesday 2011: What's the Origin and Meaning of the Christian Event?

Torie Bosch

Tomorrow, when the revelers in New Orleans are feeling their hangovers (or are still drunk) from Fat Tuesday, many of the faithful will be in church.

Because after Fat Tuesday comes Ash Wednesday in the Christian calendar. Both are part of the lead-up to Easter, the holiest day of the year for Christians.

Here's how it works. Fat Tuesday is a last hurrah. There's Mardi Gras in New Orleans, for instance, and the raucous Carnival in Latin countries.

Once Fat Tuesday has come to a close -- and that's at midnight sharp in New Orleans -- Ash Wednesday begins. Ash Wednesday is the first day of the season of Lent, a several-week-long period of repentance and contemplation for Catholics. Lent observation and its rituals were formalized for Christians by the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. and have evolved over the following centuries.

On Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent is marked with church services in which priests and ministers place ashes in the sign of the cross on the faithful's foreheads. As he places the ashes upon the person's forehead, a priest will say, "Remember, man is dust, and unto dust you shall return"; "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel"; or "Repent, and hear the good news."

Traditionally, ashes are a sign of penance, and wearing the ashen cross tells the world that you are repenting your sins. The ashes themselves are composed of holy water mixed with the burned remains of the palm fronds from the prior year's Palm Sunday service. Palm Sunday falls on the Sunday before Easter.

For Catholics, Ash Wednesday is also a day of fasting, as those between 15 and 59 are expected to abstain from meat and eat only one full meal during the day. During Lent, Catholics are to abstain from meat on Fridays as well.

Lent lasts for 46 days (or 40 days without counting Sundays) and ends on Easter. Catholics are also encouraged to give up something for Lent, so Ash Wednesday for many can also mean the first day of abstaining from, say, chocolate.

While the Catholic Church's observance of Ash Wednesday may be the most well known, other churches also mark the holiday, including the Lutheran Church and the Methodist Church. Eastern churches instead celebrate "Clean Monday" or "Ash Monday."


"Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in [God's] will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated
And let my cry come unto Thee."

- T.S. Eliot, from his poem "Ash Wednesday"

Irish Drum "Bodhran" and the Tin Whistles,

Wonderful slides with this!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Guinness the Color of Ireland

Guinness the Color of Ireland

Old Guinness Add

St. Patrick's Breastplate

The Deer's Cry", or St. Patrick's Breastplate, sung by Angelina

Clipper on its way for the weekend

It is a very chilly night. It's only 16F or -8.89 degrees celsius this morning. Funny thing but it seems like we always have a March storm about St. Patrick's Day give or take 5 days. There have been so many March nights in former years I spent slogging to the barn to check for lambs in near blizzard conditions. I just read that meteorologist, Don Paul from WIVB channel 4 is calling for a possible clipper storm for Sat. That will fall right into the pattern of my memory. Winter here in Western, NY ain’t over ’til its over no matter how tired we are, LOL.


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Like some reformer, who with mien austere,
Neglected dress, and loud insistent tones,
More rasping than the wrongs which she bemoans,
Walks through the land and wearies all who hear,
While yet we know the need of such reform;
So comes unlovely March, with wind and storm,
To break the spell of winter, and set free
The poisoned brooks and crocus beds oppressed.
Severe of face, gaunt-armed, and wildly dressed,
She is not fair nor beautiful to see.
But merry April and sweet smiling May
Come not till March has first prepared the way.

Farm Road in New Snow

A March Snow

Let the old snow be covered with the new:
The trampled snow, so soiled, and stained, and sodden.
Let it be hidden wholly from our view
By pure white flakes, all trackless and untrodden.
When Winter dies, low at the sweet Spring's feet
Let him be mantled in a clean, white sheet.

Let the old life be covered by the new:
The old past life so full of sad mistakes,
Let it be wholly hidden from the view
By deeds as white and silent as snow-flakes.

Ere this earth life melts in the eternal Spring
Let the white mantle of repentance fling
Soft drapery about it, fold on fold,
Even as the new snow covers up the old.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The snow banks are still here but the actual snow on the ground where it fell in most places is only a few inches deep. The plowed piles are iced and heavy and it will take rain or some serious sun to melt them away. The days are longer now and when you step outside the sound of the birds is amazing. They know spring is on its way. We picked up a little new snow Sat. night and Sunday morning. That at least covered the mud!

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