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We Lift Our Heads




We Lift Our Heads

We lift our heads
as we face our Source.
We  give thanks
for these gifts
beginning our day;
a body without pain
and a mind clear and receptive;
a heart that beats steadily
and ears that hear clearly.

For these gifts we are grateful.
Open us and allow not
one bird to miss our thank you
for his song and allow not
the breeze to be without
gratitude for its breath.

Take this day
and use us for Thy purpose,
for we will be at a loss
when time in space
cannot be breached by thought
and the abyss
cannot be spanned by a leap.
Let our thoughts be more than a footnote
in the story of this day

        and our lives lived with compassion.    We ask.


Photo by John Hallissey
click on photo to magnify


Winner of The Last Bird Sings


It is nearing midnight and I am going to announce the winner of The Last Bird Sings.   To accommodate my readers from across the waters and those who work nights,  the winner is Laura Libby Jones.     I will be contacting her for essential information and the book will be on its way.   I want to thank all who entered for their interesting and gracious reasons for wanting the book   I hope all of you will subscribe to my blog because I will be doing this more often.   It is great fun for me and I hope it was for you.

Maria Wulf is to be thanked again for her support.   Full Moon Fiber Art is a wonderful blog and I have learned much from Maria’s venture into Gee quilting.   She has interesting ideas to share with  us and she shines as the true artist and wonderful person that she is.  I am glad to call her friend.

Again,   thank you for entering and making this a most interesting week.



Excerpt From The Last Bird Sings




Felix is the Elder,  the mentor and Marshall is his student, needing Felix to teach him what Marshall needs to know.   They are out in the field with the huge machine,  lovingly dubbed by the Brothers as The Hemingway.   It is hot and Marshall is fidgeting.

“Why do you say that evening can be felt when the sun is still high and so hot?”

And Felix looked at him with a delight that only the teacher feels when words take to the mind and light it like the sun itself.

“When the sun is heading for its resting place, it makes a movement in the sky.  At
a particular time in its journey, faster than the eye can see,  you can feel its path.  The touch of the air on your face will alert you to the evening coming upon us.  You will not see it but you will feel it.   And now that you are aware of its journey,  you will watch for it.   Some  things are felt long before they are seen.   And in due time,  you will know that all things,  even that as slight as the breath given by the sun in motion will have a substance.   And you will tell about all things by the feel of all things.”

Felix turned the Hemingway around at the end of the field.   He pointed it in the direction of the mountain and cut the motor.   He made motion for Marshall to take the wheel.   But this time he removed himself and walked around the machine.   He climbed into the seat that Marshall had vacated and sat there a moment.

Marshall looked at him with excitement as well as apprehension.   His voice was almost a whisper.  In fact when he opened his mouth,  the words could be heard as a croak of a frog.

“You mean to let me drive this by myself?  I don’t think I can do it, Felix.  Not by myself.”

“You can do it Marshall.   You can do it.  Just remember to lift the plough if you do
not intend to look back.   But You decide.   I will close my eyes and rest them a bit.  But you can do it,  I know.”

And Felix laid his head back on the shoulder of the seat and closed his eyes.   A light
twinkled around the corners of his eyes but his mouth did not betray him.   He gave a deep sigh,  and settled himself.

Marshall sat there for awhile wondering at this turn of events.   The sweat beaded on his upper lip and his hands shook.  With an effort that duplicated his inner quaking he turned the ignition on the Hemingway and with a roar,  the machine answered.  He decided after a minute that this first time behind the wheel, he best lift the plough.   And with a movement which spoke a trust of his budding confidence, he grasped the wheel and announced to Felix,

“Just this first time I lift the plough.   Tomorrow I will be able to look back at the
furrows I make and guide the Hemingway, too.  Today I get the feel of the machine but tomorrow I will be able to look back and go forward too.”

Felix lifted his hand in acknowledgement and wanting Marshall to note his approval,  with his hand in motion he wiped the smile off his face.

Leave your name and a comment for the blind drawing of The Last Bird Sings.   The winner of the drawing will be announced Friday morning the 14th of March.   I look forward to hearing from you!


Book Drawing


The Last Bird Sings is a story within a story and the form is much loved in European Literature.   It contains excerpts of my life along with my understanding of these events in the long scope of my life;  how they have shaped me into who it is I am.   How and why I view my Self with what I consider All That Is.  It is about my need to build a philosophy that would hold me up no matter what the events of my life would be .   I write of our connection as human beings to All That Is.   It is my view of our humanity and our divinity.

The book drawing will be from Monday the 10th through Thursday evening the 13th of March.  The winner will be announced Friday morning the 14th of March.   And then the book will be in the mail as of the next week.  It will be a blind drawing and all that is required is that you leave your comment on my blog.  Your e mail address will not appear on my blog.  You may comment on a post that I have done on my blog or why you would like to have a copy of The Last Bird Sings.   I will welcome your comments.  And I hope you think it is fun that you might be the winner!


Morning Sun Dance


It sometimes is very hard to convince someone that what you see is really so.  What I have seen are icicles on the pines.     We are in Florida so this was  difficult for those close to me to believe .   This morning I ran for my cell phone which I do not clearly understand and took several photos  like this one.  In awe of this morning’s sun dance,  I bend at the knees easily.  There was nothing else to do.   Click on the photo several times to get different views of the sparklers.   And you can guess the Christmas Card for this year.

If you click on the photo once it will come front and center.   Click on it again while front and center and it will fill your screen.   If you scroll up and down you will get different views.  This will work for almost all of my photos.   It will be great fun.


A Toast From My Heart


Let us drink in

the sight of each other

and let loose

those preconceived dreams

keeping us from

breathing in the essence

of the New Year.

With these we will face

a blessedness comparable to none.

Come,   drink and be merry.

We will welcome one another

forever more and be glad.


Photo by Joe Hallissey Sr.


Trading Wall Quilts

For my readers who have requested a photo of Maria Wulf’s wonderfulDSC_1615 wall quilt that she had offered to trade for one of mine,  this is the marvelous quilt.   I love it and do not tire of looking at it.   I find new images all the time.   She is a gifted artist as well as an accomplished poet and captures everything floating through her mind.   It is a wonder that she manipulates her sewing machine as easily as she does her pencils and her brushes.    And her chisels, for she sculpts also.  You will find her and her blog at

I am fortunate to have this Freedom Woman wall quilt.   We had traded on September 28th of this year.   I have hung it on a door in my workroom which houses me most of the hours of the day.  So Maria’s quilt is at home with me.   And I thank all of you for asking to see it.  If you click on the quilt it will come forward to the middle of the screen.  And if you click again at different parts of the quilt,  they will be detailed for you for a closer look.   In fact if you click on my photos and also the quilts I feature they will come forward to the middle of your screen.   And several clicks will bring details closer.   I can fill up a screen with my beloved evergreens by clicking.   Or bring snow to my eyes from winters past.   I am grateful for many things modern technology has brought to me.   And this is one of them.


My God And Me

DSC_1146Be Still . . . . . . . . .

Be still, this too shall pass
and let me tell you why.

The blue waters you take for granted
may dry up…….
and the grass beneath your feet
will crunch like
your breakfast cereal.

You may not live to see
another snowfall you have grown to love.
You may not see your sensate world
covering its sins
with the damask cloth
used on holy occasions.
But this too shall pass.

The faces of your private world
you have grown to cherish
will disappear from view.
You will miss their nearness
and will go looking to fill
the void they leave.

But I tell you,  this too shall pass.

For when you realize that I
would take nothing from you
without giving something back,
I know you have learned your lesson well.

In its place will be
a knowing that in another world
what you have earned
can never pass away.

That is my gift to you.


(2012)   (My God And Me . . . a book in progress)
photo by John Hallissey


Best Ever Oatmeal Cookies

It was almost three quarters of a century ago that I was relegated to the kitchen at the age of 12 years to cook for my farm family because I could not work in the fields.   I became sick (turned green) in the sun and my mother took my place in the fields and I,  her place in the kitchen.   Her brief directions were exactly that,  brief.   I learned quickly.

We took farm journals and farm newsletters and I scoured them for recipes.   One of my favorite recipes was an oatmeal cookie recipe that the family loved and especially my brothers.   The clipping in my scrapbook of recipes is brown with age and I think it has gone into public domain because it is so old and no name was attached to the article.  It was also a time when cookies were not a snack but a valuable part of the day’s calories.   It was also a time when children worked their chores and when the days were longer in the summer,  had some time to play.   This was a time for dreams and ideas and experimenting.   This was a time when the word ‘boring’ was not part of the language.  Because we knew that if we could not find something to do,  an adult would soon find that something and it would be work.

The recipe can be doubled  because the numbers are easy to remember.   If you decide to double make certain you have a sturdy mixer.   If you don’t, it is safer to do small batches  like this one.   You cannot go too wrong, (if at all) with this.   A minute longer in the oven makes them crisp,  too soon out and they are chewy.   Both conditions excellent.   A glass of milk is a fine accompaniment.   I made these this week and I had forgotten how good they are.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F


1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs   (added one at a time)
1 and 1/2 cups sifted flour   (I scoop the flour and shake the cup to level)
1/2 tsp salt    (I never add salt when I use baking soda.   I just never do)
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups oatmeal  (quick or regular)

Mix in the order given and drop by teaspoons.   Do not bother shaping as these spread during baking.   Bake on ungreased cookie sheets until light brown.   (approximately 10 minutes depending on your oven but watch because they brown quickly in the last minutes)  Wait a minute before removing from pan.   Move to racks or waxed paper on counter to continue cooling.

Good food is something everyone understands,  no matter the age.   They will think you are a genius.


Lessons Need Repeating

catsSometimes things happen and one does not know quite how things either took a decided turn or what we did to make something happen.   It seems that since I decided what I wanted to do with my wall quilts,  life happened or intervened and Poof!  my plans went astray.   I relearned several things though.   One is that if something is meant for you,  you will not be able to avoid it.   And secondly,   if it is not meant for you,  nothing you do will make it happen for you.   That sounds like a fatalist,  but it is not meant to be.   If you consider yourself a worthwhile and integral part of this world or planet,  then you know you are not  an incident that just happened,  but a predetermined spark put here precisely in this time and space.   And that means that a  Somebody or your God has you in sight and life is indeed a challenge but a treasure as well.   I also learned that perseverance means a great deal.   Even when you think that if you straighten up your back will crack.  It simply means that the question is being put to you,  how hard would you work or keep at something till knowledge is yours,   or when would you know to quit and at what point.   I speak as if Somebody is in charge and to answer that question means that you have to do a lot of footwork.   It is a challenge and worth it.   But the truth is that  it is never too late to start the footwork.  I finally finished this first Christmas wall quilt,  a bit smaller than first thought,  but finished.   It certainly tested my Christmas state of mind.    But it is for sale and if you are interested,  let me know here.


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