Oh the comfort--
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person--
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all right out,
just as they are,
chaff and grain together,
certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

"Friendship" by M. M. Craik

Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31

Thoughts on the passing of another year. Looking back at the highs and lows of the last twelve months and looking forward to a fresh year.

Here's hoping for a peaceful end to 2012 and a prayer for a positive start to 2013.

Best day of all the year, since I
May see thee pass and know
That if thou dost not leave me high
Thou hast not found me low,
And since, as I behold thee die,
Thou leavest me the right to say
That I tomorrow still may vie
With them that keep the upward way.

Best day of all the year to me,
Since I may stand and gaze
Across the grayish past and see
So many crooked ways
That might have led to misery,
Or might have ended at Disgrace-
Best day since thou dost leave me free
To look the future in the face.
Best day of all days of the year,
That was so kind, so good,
Since thou dost leave me still the dear
Old faith in brotherhood-
Best day since I, still striving here,
May view the past with small regret,
And, undisturbed by doubts or fear,
Seeks paths that are untrod as yet.
          ~S. E. Kiser

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thought for New Year

Another New Year's themed poem from Edgar A. Guest.  This is very different from Mr. Guest's usual work, the meter and rhyme scheme are a little offbeat.  The tone of the poem seems rather grim...as if the new year is something we must march ahead and face, fighting our way through.  I like to think of the new year as a fresh new slate, so I find this serious "we will conquer the battles" outlook rather dreary.

Danger and dark and fear
Darken the step o' the year.
  But out through the door,
     Though the wind blow,
   To what lies before
      Bravely let's go:
    May good health attend us
    And good faith befriend us.

Skies that are dismal and drear
Frown at the birth o' the year.
   But life isn't all
      Lived in summertime gay:
   There are winter and fall
      To be met on the way.
   Give us strength for the task;
   Nothing more will we ask.

Care's shadow lies over the land
As facing the new year we stand.
   But high road or low,
      We can battle each day
   Without asking to know
       Every step of the way,
   We have conquered before,
   We can do it once more.
              ~Edgar A. Guest
               Copyright 1932

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lines for the New Year

Edgar A. Guest wrote more than one poem for the new year.  This piece seems to be relatively obscure; but the thought is interesting.  A prayer asking for courage and strength to face the trials ahead.  Mr. Guest doesn't ask for things to be easier, he asks for help to get through the battles bravely. 

Not that ease may come to us,
   not that comfort shall be ours,
Not without toil or care,
   we may gather summer's flowers,
Not that in the year itself
    any hope or triumph lies,
But that we may hold the faith
   until the dawn is in the skies.

For the New Year, Lord, we pray:
   Grant us strength for every task,
'Tis not luxuries we crave;
   'tis not days of ease we ask,
In these times of stress and strife,
   grant us as we trudge along,
Faith to battle for the right
   and the joy of being strong.

This the happiness we beg--
   that of braving best we can,
All that we must face of care;
   all that tries the soul of man,
For the new year, this our prayer:
   May we bravely live it through,
Rich in courage and in strength
   for the work that we must do.

                        ~Edgar A. Guest
                          Copyright, 1933

Friday, December 28, 2012

A New Year's Wish

This New Year's wish is more like a hopeful resolution for the upcoming new year. All of these wishes provide lofty goals for a person to attempt.  This little prayer would make a wonderful motto for 2013.

I wish I were:
    big enough to honestly admit all my shortcomings,
    brilliant enough to accept flattery without it making me arrogant,
    tall enough to tower above deceit,
    strong enough to treasure love,
    brave enough to welcome criticism,
    compassionate enough to understand human frailties,
    wise enough to recognize my mistakes,
    humble enough to be thoughtful of my neighbor,
    and righteous enough to be devoted to the love of God.
                     ~Gordon H. Taggart

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Close that Door on the Old Year

The following editorial is pasted into Florence's book with no date.  I think it speaks for itself.

Entering your home New Year's Day means crossing a new threshold.  Perhaps you've never thought of it in quite that way.  But every New Year brings a new threshold into our lives to think about, because new Year's Day is a sort of annual moving day!

Certainly some strange things we never dreamed of a year ago have happened, behind the doors of old rooms. Life is so filled with a mixture of things we did not anticipate! Just hear the laughter of all those good times still echoing, through the doors of rooms we have left! Other doors--well, we closed them gently. We left something precious behind them.  And we have hung up a small sign which reads "Not to be disturbed."  Some other door, perhaps, we have closed even more silently.  Through it we have stepped from the presence of the Great Mystery.  Still other doors we have closed with a firm hand and snapped the key in the lock.  Those doors are going to stay shut, we say.

Why open the old doors again? On New Year's Day we move into new rooms and leave behind all our useless old belongings. We need carry into the new rooms only the best of the furnishings we had before.  After all, why lug in threadbare grudges or hang up worn out fears or prop us worthless ambitions?  A lot of faded hopes, stuffy and dusty thoughts, the cheap bric-a-brac of the easiest way out, some dark curtained regret--these have had their day! Close the doors on them--we are moving into a new house.  Let's furnish it in good taste, with only the brightest memories and the freshest hopes.  Let's furnish it with cheerful thoughts and good ideals.  What's more, a new broom of good-will sweeps as clean as any other broom.  And if you want to keep the new dwelling livable throughout the year, leave no doors that are easy to open into the old rooms of the past!  Let's resolve that when we once close a door, it will stay closed!
                     ~Alden Wilson, @1932

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Optimist

Leigh Mitchell Hodges wrote an column called "The Optimist" in the early part of the 20th century. I can't find much more information about this author.  Florence has penciled in a date of 1/3/34.
Florence on one of her beloved cruises.
"Now the New Year, reviving old desires";
   Restoring hope, recalling banished dreams;
   Another round of being which redeems,Through faith, the treasure claimed by fear's old fires;
Now the awakened spirit which aspires
   To happier hours, and seeks the golden gleams
   Of love's deep peace; of labor that beseems,
The quest for what the pilgrim soul requires.
O, fairer may we weave this added strand,
   To match the Master's pattern; to adorn
The tapestry of time with deeds that stand,
   Unblemished in the sight of years unborn!
O, better may we serve the common need,
Of men, to be of fear and envy freed!
                  ~Leigh Mitchell Hodges

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

To honor Christmas day, here is a little bit of prose by Samuel M. Shoemaker:

Think about these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Don't try to be good, but pray to be used.  When people try to be good, if they succeed, they get proud; and if they fail, they get discouraged.  if instead we will pray only to be used, when it happens we are thankful; and when it fails, we are penitent.  God wants to use every one of us. There are people he can touch through you and through no one else.  Your prayers can turn the tide in somebody's life.  He wants to use your sympathy, your kindness, your gift, your personality, to get through to somebody else.  You and I will probably never be very good, but we may be greatly used.  It is the 'used' people who seem to receive the most power and energy.  There is no joy on earth like the joy of being used by God.

On this day when we celebrate the birth of our Lord, let us all pray to be used by His hand and in His name.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wealth of Living

There's been a lot of discussion lately about "wealth," and how much wealth one person or family needs to live comfortably.  The rich are asked to pay more in taxes so that there will be funds to help the less fortunate.  "Wealth" is determined by income and socioeconomic status.
This little piece, while titled "Wealth in Living," never speaks about financial success.  Wealth is not monetary but moral--what do we have to give that could help another soul.  The author asks us to cast self aside.  A strange concept in today's world where we spend more time thinking about ourselves than others.
Today's poem has no author attributed other than the initials A.M.  I can't find any reference in a google search.  The piece was submitted to the journal by a Thekla Freund.
This is true wealth of living:
  To share in other's lives,
To feel their joy in giving,
   Their faith which upward strives;
To lend to others' weakness
   What strength we can command
To learn to live with meekness,
   To try to understand.
This is true wealth of living:
   Not hoarding any good,
But day by day forgiving
   Each hostile word or mood;
Not keeping any treasures,
   Just for our selfish ends,
But passing on the pleasures
   Each sparkling morning sends.
This is true wealth of living:
   To cast self all aside,
And in serene thanksgiving
   For all life's good, abide.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


This week has been a trying time for most Americans. There are countless discussions going on all across our country regarding our communal stand on gun control, mental illness, and basic morality. Many parents are wondering if their children are being raised in a culture that desensitizes them to violence. 

I don't think anyone would argue that most children today are exposed to a lot more violence than 50 years ago.  Yes, we watched Popeye back then, and it was pretty violent, but it was also cartoony and silly and we as children knew it wasn't real.  Movies that would have been rated R in the 1970's now seem archaic compared to some of the films that are released today.  And I'm always shocked to see all the very young children in the theater whenever I attend an R rated film today. 

If we want the world to be a better place, we have to start at home, begin with the choices we make for our own children. 

Florence @ 1920.  Looks like she's all dressed up
to go somewhere special.
Do you wish the world were better?
  Let me tell you what to do.
Set a watch upon your actions,
  Keep them always straight and true.
Rid your mind of selfish motives,
  Let your thoughts be clean and high.
You can make a little Eden
  Of the sphere you occupy.

Do you wish the world were wiser?
  Well, suppose you make a start,
By accumulating wisdom
  In the scrapbook of your heart;
Do not waste one page on folly;
  Live to learn, and learn to live
If you want to give men knowledge
  You must get it, ere you give.

Do you wish the world were happy?
  Then remember day by day
Just to scatter seeds of kindness
  As you pass along the way,
For the pleasures of the many
  May be ofttimes traced to one,
As the hand that plants an acorn
  Shelters armies from the sun.

            ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Making of Friends

Another little poem by Edgar A. Guest.  Very poignant words; friendship is a part of what makes us human, and what drives humans to continue on, in good times and bad.  Especially in dark times, we need our friends around us to help us move on. 

If nobody smiled and nobody cheered and nobody helped us along,
If each, every minute, looked after himself and good things all went to the strong,
If nobody cared just a little for you, and nobody thought about me,
And we stood all alone to the battle of life, what a dreary old world it would be!

If there were no such thing as a flag in the sky as a symbol of comradeship here,
If we lived as the animals live in the woods, with nothing held sacred or dear,
And selfishness ruled us from birth to the end, and never a neighbor had we,
And never we gave to another in need, what a dreary old world it would be!

Oh, if we were rich as the richest on earth and strong as the strongest that lives,
Yet never we knew the delight and the charm of the smile which the other man gives,
If kindness were never a part of ourselves, though we owned all the land we could see,
And friendship meant nothing at all to us here, what a dreary old world it would be!

Life is sweet just because of the friends we have made and the things which in common we share;
We want to live on not because of ourselves, but because of the people who care;
It's giving and doing for somebody else--on that all life's splendor depends,
And the joy of this world, when you've summed it all up, is found in the making of friends.
                            ~Edgar A. Guest

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Life Needs Us All

I spent today doing some holiday shopping.  I have to admit that I'm pretty much a dedicated Internet shopper.  I would much rather spend an hour or so on my computer looking for the perfect gift than an afternoon dealing with parking and crowded stores. 

But today I decided to brave the crowds and off I went. It never takes long before I am standing with my mouth hanging open in shock as I observe the behavior of those people whose sense of entitlement is way out of perspective. 

I watched a woman--dressed to the nines in her designer best--who stood at the Post Office counter screaming at the clerk who would not give her a piece of tape for her package.  "A piece of tape" she shrieked, "you don't have a piece of tape?"  I think most people know that the post office will not tape your package, but this individual really believed if she screamed loud enough, the clerk would back down and pull out some tape. While I'm sure this type of behavior works more often than not, I do not understand moving through life with an attitude like this.  What makes a person choose to shriek at a clerk just doing his job rather than just purchase a roll of tape.  That is sold right there. At the Post Office. 

Luckily, my faith in humanity was restored later in the day by the kind cashier who kept his lane open just a little longer so he could check me out. After a long day of shopping, my arthritis was really acting up; without knowing this at all, the lovely young man took an extra few minutes to check out one more customer.  His small kindness really made my day.

All of this leads into today's poem.  We all have a place to fill to make the world a better place.  Some of us just don't realize it. 

There is so much that we can do,
A kind word spoken here and there
   Will ease another's weight of care;
Life needs us all.  The splendid few
   Who rise to fame, with all their skill
   Your post and mine can never fill.
If we who have not wealth or fame,
   should fail in all our little deeds,
   The world would sink beneath its needs;
Not by the greatness of a name,
   Nor by the splendor of success,
   Are hearts restored to happiness.
About us all are those who need
   The gifts which we have power to give;
   We can be friendly while we live
And by some thoughtful, kindly deed
   Can help another on his way--
   And that is service, come what may.
What though we miss the heights of skill,
   The splendor of the greater few,
   There is so much that we can do,
There is a place which we can fill--
   Always about us while we live,
   Are those who need what we can give.
                     ~ Edgar A. Guest

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Prayer

Our last home was in a Connecticut suburb just down the road from Newtown where the devastating school shooting occurred yesterday.  We lived there for 15 years, the longest time I've ever lived in one place, and my kids consider it their "hometown."  So the news of the shooting was particularly disturbing for us.  I was an elementary school teacher for many years; I can visualize the students' and teachers' terror. As a mom, I can't even begin to imagine the pain of the parents. 
I'd like to offer a prayer I found in Florence's journal today.  Grace Noll Crowell was an American poet and was named the Texas Poet Laureate in 1936.  Her poetry is simple, but very rich at the same time.   

A Pilgrim's Prayer

So long I have been guarded by your power
Up many a tangled path and stony hill
And now, dear Lord, through this strange darkened hour
Be with me still.

Be with me for the way is long and lonely
I am bewildered and I cannot see
But, Lord,  I shall not be afraid, if only
You walk with me.

If only I can some way keep recalling
The darkened roads I traveled in the past
How, after You long guarded me from falling
Light shown at last.
         ~Grace Noll Crowell

Friday, December 14, 2012


It's interesting to type "Is Christmas a secular holiday?" into your web browser. Depending on your point of view, you'll either be shocked or nodding your head sagely as you view what shows up.  Most of the links are arguments supporting the concept that Christmas is no longer a religious holiday.  I can't wrap my head around the idea that a large number of people who celebrate Christmas just consider it a holiday with gifts and pretty decorations and Santa Claus.  No religious aspect at all. 

I even read one forum where a poster made fun of the "old-fashioned" custom of baking a birthday cake for the baby Jesus.  Hmmm.  That was one of our traditions when my kids were little.  I guess I'm older than I thought.

After the carols have faded,
And the gifts have been tucked away.
And the candles are stubs of formless wax
And the snow has mouldered to gray-

After the holly withers.
And the berries are rusted brown,
And the carpets sparkle with tinseled fir
Where needles come tumbling down—

After the dream has ended,
And the embers are burning low,
May the Christ, the Heart of Christmas,
Still brighten the afterglow.
        ~Alice E. Kenelly

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Christmas Tree

The following is an excerpt that's dated 12/20/33.  There is no author credited and no hint where Florence found the clipping.  It appears to be cut from a magazine. It's a strange little bit of prose.

The Christmas Tree
 James Lane Allen, in his exquisite but tragic story “The Last Christmas Tree,” pictured the gradual snowing under of the whole earth till nothing was left but a lone fir tree, the emblem of immortality, in whose evergreen top men had set their star of hope and from whose evergreen branches children plucked their gifts.  It is one of the saddest of stories, since even this tree followed all living things into their white sleep under the reign of the snowflakes; the shepherds, all in white, lay down with their flocks in white pastures.  But the really hopeful and happy moral of the story is the last thing to perish on the earth is that for which the Christmas tree stands throughout Christendom—glory to God and good will among men.
The scientist in his discovery of the structure of the atom and of the potential fuel laid away by the creator in myriad infinitesimal storehouses has postponed indefinitely this tragedy of the eternal cold by prolonging the warmth which keeps the pine tree as “a wild candle poised on a mountain table.”  And a few days ago, a descendant of Huxley, speaking of the prolongation of human life, turned to the tree, as did the Psalmist, for the illustration of his hope. He said that a tree, if sheltered from storms, protected from its natural enemies and reasonably nourished, must be the symbolism of the Christmas tree.  That is supposed to go on living forever.  That is the gospel of Christmas—the rebirth, the renewal of the Christmas spirit in which we have hope of immortality and without which there could be little or no mortal desire for immortality.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Christmas Wish

This poem is dated 12/20/32  A woman named Ruth Brown must have shared this poem at a December Willing Workers meeting.  This is a nice little holiday prayer.

Wherever there is sickness,
   May Santa Claus bring health;
The Caption Edgar A. Guest is actually for a poem pasted above
The Christmas Wish. There is no author attributed to this poem.
Wherever there is poverty,
   May Santa Claus bring wealth;

Wherever one is weeping,
   May tears to smiles give way;
Wherever sadness hovers,
   May joy come Christmas Day.

To every heart that's aching,
   May peace and comfort come,

And may an outlook rosy
   Supplant each outlook glum;

May friends now separated
   Reunited be to stay,

And everyone find gladness
   Upon this Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Old Year

 I love this poem. Love it.  It's like a prayer to end the old year, asking the Lord forgiveness for our wrongs, and for help in the new year to walk a better path.  A New Year's resolution in a poem. Just lovely.

I want to close the old year, Lord--
All finished like a book;
Turn eyes from smudged and dog-eared page,
Bar any backward look.

There are some scores I marked to pay--
Some large--and some are small;
The grief they caused--I'm sorry, now,
Forgive me for them all.

Then place a new book in my hand,
New pages I can read;
And give me from it deeds to do,
And thoughts of other's need.

And when its pages I must close,
Pray let there be no grief;
But let my hands turn happily
The new book's last clean leaf.
                      ~Clara Hood Rugel

Monday, December 10, 2012

When You Know a Fellow

As I've read through Florence's journal, I've come to understand why Edgar A. Guest was known as The People's Poet. He really does take our lives and put them in a common denominator. I love this poem. It would be perfect to study in an elementary classroom. The discussion on prejudice is very apropos today.

The original poem has another four stanzas that were left out of Florence's journal.  I've typed them here as they were in her book.

When you get to know a fellow,
know his joys and know his cares,

When you've come to understand him
and the burdens that he bears,

When you've learned the fight he's making
and the troubles in his way,

Then you find that he is different
than you thought him yesterday.

You find his faults are trivial
and there's not so much to blame

In the brother that you jeered at
when you only knew his name.

You are quick to see the blemish
 in the distant neighbor's style,

You can point to all his errors
and may sneer at him the while,

And your prejudices fatten
and your hates more violent grow

As you talk about the failures
of the man you do not know,

But when drawn a little closer,
and your hands and shoulders touch,

You find the traits you hated
really don't amount to much.

When next you start in sneering
and your phrases turn to blame,

Know more of him you censure
than his business and his name;

For it's likely that acquaintance
would your prejudice dispel

And you'd really come to like him
if you knew him very well.

When you get to know a fellow
and you understand his ways,

Then his faults won't really matter,
for you'll find a lot to praise.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

He Leadeth Me

No author attributed here, and an internet search came up with a few exerpts from this prose, but no author.  

In pastures green? Not always, sometimes He
Who knoweth best, in kindness leadeth me
In weary ways where heavy shadows be.

Out of the sunshine, warm and soft and bright;
Out of the sunshine into darkest night;
I oft would faint with sorrow and afright.

Only for this I know (He holds my hand);
So whether in the green or desert land,
I trust, although I many not understand.

And by still waters? No not always so!
Oft times the heavy tempests round me blow
And o'er my soul the waves and billows go.

But when the storm beats loudest and I cry
Aloud for help, the Master standeth by,
And whispers to my soul "Lo, it is I."

Above the tempest I hear him say.
"Beyond the darkness lies the perfect day.
In every path of thine I lead the way--."

So, whether on the hilltops high and fair
I dwell, or in the sunless valleys where
The shadows lie--what matter? He is there.

And more than this where'er the pathway lead
He gives to me no helpless, broken reed,
But His own hand sufficient for  my need.

So where He leads me, I can safely go,
And in the blest hereafter I shall know
Why in His wisdom he hath led me so.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The First Snow

The following poem looks like it was cut from the pages of a church bulletin or a newsletter. The back side has a recipe for Walnut Bourbon Balls and the beginning of a recipe for Stuffing Louis.  I'd love to see the whole stuffing recipe, it sounds interesting. I will post the bourbon balls recipe though, just for fun, although I haven't tried it myself.  The author of this poem is a "Schultz."  I can't find any other citing of this poem through a google search.

Just along about December
when the autumn fast has fled.
And the winter winds are howling
in the country lanes instead.
When the sun no longer sparkles
and the world grows cold and still.
And the trees are bare and lonely,
on the top of yonder hill--
There's a chill that says it's winter
and it won't be long, we know.
Till we're greeted one fine morning
with a world that's white with snow.
All the pines decked out in silver,
what a lovely sight to see.
And a cloud as soft as cotton,
where the sunshine used to be.

Walnut Bourbon Balls
contributed by Grace Schwartz
2 1/2 cups finely crushed packaged vanilla wafers
1 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS cocoa
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
3 TBS corn syrup
1/4 cup bourbon or rum
powdered sugar
Mix first 4 ingredients well.  Add syrup and bourbon and mix well. 
Roll into 1" balls and roll in powdered sugar.

Friday, December 7, 2012

What is Success?

There's not a lot to add regarding a poem by Mr. Guest.  They pretty much speak for themselves.  While the words are rather "antique," the thoughts are so relevant for today's world. 

Success is being friendly when another needs a friend;
It's in the cheery words you speak, and in the coins you lend;
Success is not alone in skill and deeds of daring great;
It's in the roses that you plant beside your garden gate.

Success is in the way you walk the paths of life each day;
It's in the little things you do and in the things you say;
Success is in the glad hello you give your fellow man;
It's in the laughter of your home and all the joys you plan.

Success is not in getting rich or rising high to fame;
It's not alone in winning goals which all men hope to claim;
It's in the man you are each day, through happiness or care;
It's in the cheery words you speak and in the smile you wear.

Success is being big of heart and clean and broad of mind;
It's being faithful to your friends, and to the stranger, kind;
It's in the children whom you love, and all they learn from you--
Success depends on character and everything you do.

                                                        ~Edgar A. Guest

Thursday, December 6, 2012

At Day's End

At day's end is an interesting poem to me for a variety of reasons. My dad (Florence's nephew ) was also John Hall. I don't think he is the author, because he was born in 1924 and would have been 9 or 10 when Florence pasted this piece in the book. 
I believe that the author was a member of the Masonic Order.  The poem in Florence's journal uses the term "The Great Architect" to refer to God.  When I google "At Day's End," most of the more current citing of this poem have changed "The Great Architect" to "God".
To me, that's a curious change. The Masons refer to a higher Deity as The Great Architect because they allow their members to believe in the deity of their choice. The term "The Great Architect" includes, God, Allah, Yahweh, or whatever the individual personal god happens to be.  As much bad press as the Masonic Order seems to receive lately, I personally find this to be a very inclusive viewpoint.
It's also curious that my dad, John Hall, was a Mason.  Just one of those weird coincidences in life.  I do love this poem, it's a great read at bedtime, or to post in a gratitude journal.
Is anyone happier now
because you passed this way?
Does anyone remember
that you spoke to him today?
The day is almost over,
as its toiling time is though;
Is there anyone now
to utter a kindly word of you?
Can you say tonight, in parting
with the day that's slipping fast,
That you helped a single Brother
of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing
over what you did or said;
Does the friend whose hopes were fading,
now with renewed courage look ahead?
 Did you waste the day, or lose it?
 Was it well, or sorely spent?
 Did you leave a trail of kindness,
or a bleak scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber,
do you think the Great Architect will say,
  "You have earned one more tomorrow
 by the good works you did today"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Florence and her beloved dog Buddy,
circa 1930.
Many the memories
I've stored away
Of friends and places
For a rainy day.

Pictures I've taken
Letters I've saved;
Scrapbooks are filled;
With paste I've slaved.

I'll never regret
The time I spent
Storing up memories
Wherever we went.

And some day I know,
When we're too old to roam
We can live all over
While sitting at home.

      ~Pauline Mulford

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Like Calls to Like

Another little poem by Edgar A. Guest.  It seems Mr. Guest was quite a prolific poet; in his lifetime, he wrote more than 11,000 poems. I love this one, it's a 20th century Christian man's view of Karma--the good that you turn out returns to you.  Or as you reap, so shall you sow--if you treat others with kindness, you will find kindness in return. 

If you walk as a friend, you will find a friend
     wherever you choose to fare;

If you go with mirth to a far strange land,
   you will find that mirth is there.

For the strangest part of this queer old world
   is that like will join with like,

And who walks with love for his fellow-men
   an answering love will strike.

If you walk in honor, then honest men
   will meet you along the way;

But if you be false, you will find men false
   wherever you chance to stray.

For good breeds good, and the bad breeds bad;
   we are met by the traits we show.

Love will find a friend at the stranger's door
   where hate would find a foe.

For each of us builds the world he knows
   which only himself can spoil;

And an hour of hate or an hour of shame
   can ruin a life of toil;

And though to the utmost ends of earth
   your duty may bid you fare,

If you walk with truth and a friendly heart,
   you will find friends waiting there.

       ~Edgar A. Guest

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kind Hearts

Kind hearts are the gardens
Kind thoughts are the roots
Kind words are the blossoms
Kind deeds are the fruits
Love is the sweet sunshine
That warms into life
For only in darkness
Grow hatred and strife.

This poem has no author, but it was contributed to the journal by an Ethel Lou.  What a great name!  I love Ethel Lou's little piece. Interestingly, the beginning of this poem was actually written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

"Kind hearts are the gardens,
Kind thoughts are the roots,
Kind words are the flowers,
Kind deeds are the fruits,
Take care of your garden
And keep out the weeds,
Fill it with sunshine
Kind words and kind deeds."

I'm not sure who or when the poem was changed, perhaps Ethel Lou adapted it. I think I prefer Wadsworth's version.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Christmas Prayer

Give us the faith of innocent children, that we may look forward with hope in our hearts to the dawn of happy tomorrows.

Reawaken the thought that our most cherished desires will be realized, the things closest to our hearts--that we may come to an appreciation of the limitless joys and bountiful rewards of Patience, Charity, and Sacrifice.

Above all, endow us with the spirit of courage, that we may face the perplexities of a troubled world without flinching, imbued with the child-like faith which envisions the beautiful and inspiring things of life--and restore the happy hours and experiences so many of us foolishly believe are lost forever.

Give us faith in ourselves and faith in our fellow man--then, the treasures and beauties of life that make man happy will spring from an inexhaustible source.

This paper was slipped into the journal and looks as if it was cut from a church bulletin.  No date anywhere, but I'm guessing circa 1930-1940, sometime between WW I and WW II.  Some things never change; this prayer could be said today and feel quite modern.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Recipes for Christmas

Take a quart of joy and gladness,
   A peck of folk and kin--
A dash of Christmas spirit
   And toss some laughter in.
Take a large amount of giving,
   And spread it generously;
Read directions in the Good Book
   And apply them carefully.
Garnish well with human kindness,
   On crystal leaves of cheer,
And you'll have a batch of Christmas
   to last the coming year.

There's no author attributed to this little poem, but a short Internet search leads me to believe that this might be taken from an Ozark mountain folk song.  Interesting!