So long, 2013… it’s been a slice

“Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.”

Brooks Atkinson

This was a very tumultuous year for many, including myself.  Lots of dark, threatening clouds. Yet, like a rainbow peeking through the sky after a surprise sun shower, the light managed to shine through… every once in a while.  Kind of like reconnecting with a very dear old sister friend who has come back into my stratosphere after a seven-year absence.  My arms are wide open. 

That said, I will not be sorry to see the last of 2013.  Although, for me, 2014 will involve (to some degree) cleaning up the mess of 2013, I will still embrace 2014 wholeheartedly. 

Dearest readers, thank you so much for reading, following and liking my blogs!   Many blessings for 2014 and may tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebration be filled with laughter, good food, plenty of bubbly libation, and the company of those you hold dear!

And, as always, a very special shout-out to my family and friends across the globe.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the first of my annual seven New Year’s Revelations (not to be confused with resolutions!).  And a new chapter begins ….

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

Edith Lovejoy Pierce

CHEERS!

heatherfromthegrove

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for Auld Lang Syne

♦ ♦ ♦ By John Masey Wright (1777–1866, artist) John Rogers (c. 1808-c. 1888, engraver) Adam Cuerden (1979–, restorationist) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons ♦ ♦ ♦

In previous years, I posted my “for Auld Lang Syne” blogs to commemorate those who have passed away.  This year, however, I decided to make it a celebration of the living —  those dear family, friends and acquaintances who have shared part of our history and who have created memories with us.

These are the people who have laughed and cried with us, played and fought, shared food, drink and stories…  all in good times, and in bad.  Some have come into our lives for only a chapter or two, but – wow – we had a blast!  Others have stayed the course.  And, a select few have been there from the beginning and will likely remain until the very end. 

We must bow our heads in fervent, heartfelt appreciation for each and every one of them.

This beloved Scottish poem,  written by Robert Burns in 1788 and now a traditional folk song that many of us play (and sing along to) when ushering in a New Year at the stroke of midnight, is really about these “auld acquaintances” whom we shall never forget.  We celebrate them (and us)… for old time’s sake.  Robert Burns (imagine the delightful Scottish burr) articulates the sentiment far better than I:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

CHORUS:

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
and surely I’ll be mine! And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

2013 Tribute

Peter O’Toole  in the 1962 film, Lawrence of Arabia

(Wikimedia Commons)

As 2013 draws to a close, I compiled this roster of my favorite iconic figures who have passed away this year.  In life, they graced us with their genius and charm. They leave behind a legacy in film, music and literary accomplishments, on stage, and as inspirational political leaders and activists.

Holiday Greetings from heatherinthegrove

 

“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.” 

— Agnes M. Pharo

From my home to yours, I wish you all the blessings of the holiday season.  May you savour your feast, revel in the company of those you love most, and bow your head in thanks for all the goodness in your life.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Warmest Wishes,

Heather

 

 

Photo:  Copyright © 2013 by Heather Joan Marinos. All Rights Reserved.

Reflecting on Grace

“All the natural movements of the soul are controlled by laws analogous to those of physical gravity. Grace is the only exception. Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void. The imagination is continually at work filling up all the fissures through which grace might pass.” 
― Simone WeilGravity and Grace

For many people, myself included, this has been a difficult year. Despite that, I’ve come to the realization that all of the year’s blessings, though considerably less in number than the hardships, are (one-by-one) mightier (in force) than all the challenges combined.  

The few blessings have given me hope, solace and joy. 

The few blessings have somehow managed to outweigh all the pain and suffering.

The few blessings have made me deeply grateful.

The lesson to be learned is that “Grace fills the empty spaces.”  The blessings I’ve received this year are nothing short of pure grace.

In the spirit of this holiday season, count all of your blessings.  The challenges come and go. The blessings, however, have staying power.

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 Note: the pictures are of “Ollie” — I rescued this abandoned kitten <she was 5 hours old, see photo at the very top> and she is now a little over 3 months old <photo above>, and thriving. 

She is my greatest blessing of 2013.

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”

Ernest Hemingway

Photos: Copyright © 2013 by Heather Joan Marinos. All Rights Reserved

In Search of Mayberry

When I was growing up, we lived in a community where doors were kept unlocked at night and windows were left wide open (to let the brisk, cool air in).  There was never a fleet of SUVs and cars in front of the elementary and middle schools.  As children, we used to walk the few blocks (or take the school bus) to go to school. There were no predators lying in wait.  Neighbors knew their neighbors.  When a family was going through a tragedy or rough time, the neighbors – and, indeed, the entire community – got together and would rally around and offer their kindness and support. Police officers and sheriffs protected us as fiercely as family, if the need arose (although these crises happened so rarely back then).  In our neighborhood, these men in blue or brown lived among us, friends to our parents,  their children were our buddies.

Back then, the internet did not exist.  No one worried about things like identity theft or hackers.  There was less room for “he said”, “she said” scenarios.  Everyone knew where the lines in the sand were drawn.  Everything was much less complicated.

Does Mayberry exist?  Or, is it indeed a fictional place,  immortalized in a television show?

Recent events in my life have made me skeptical. And distressed.  If you read my “Neighborly Love” blog  (March 28, 2013), you will learn about the horrible burglary that occurred on our property just before Easter.  Recently, we were informed by our dear neighbors (who, sadly, are always the unfortunate bearers of bad news) that the same thieves have struck again… but, this time, they have become more sophisticated, more organized…. assuming our identity.   Our neighbors (who are community-minded, compassionate, and fiercely loyal) rallied on our behalf – once again.  Since we live at the other end of the country and couldn’t handle this crisis in person, they tried to keep the thieves from removing a vehicle from our property.  The authorities were called to the scene and our neighbors were harshly admonished for getting involved.  It appears that the authorities were believing the authenticity of the thieves’ story and fake documentation.

This would not have happened in Mayberry.

Thank goodness, there was enough “reasonable doubt” to make the authorities pause and take note.  The battle of “he said”, “she said” still continues.  I am determined to keep the Grinch from stealing Christmas.  Not another spoiled holiday.  Not again.  This has to stop.

To the thieves:  You will be caught. Maybe not today, or tomorrow. Maybe sometime next year. But you will be apprehended and brought to justice, for preying on people in our neighborhood and God knows how many other neighborhoods.

To the authorities:  We realize that today’s society has made all of us somewhat jaded.  We and our neighbors are not the bad guys.  Please leave no stone unturned.  These thieves are organized. And they are laughing at all of us, as they sell our tools, valuables, household items and vehicles.  They are preying on our weaknesses and absence.  They are smirking as they assume our identities, through falsified documents.  They are making a mockery of all of us. This ring of thieves needs to be stopped.

To our neighbors: As people of faith, we bow our heads to God, in gratitude for having neighbors such as yourselves. Your integrity, compassion and perseverance are inspiring, and humbling.  It makes me believe in the possibility of finding Mayberry.  And when we do find that small, communal town, we hope that you will move there as well.

After all, isn’t it the neighbors who make Mayberry what it is?

Christmas Blessings,

Heather

(Picture taken in 2005)

A book with a local story, but a global message

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Around the world with Casualties of the (Recession) Depression….
… amazingly, the Kindle (eBook) edition is available virtually everywhere!
 

Although Casualties of the (Recession) Depression is about middle-class America, the experiences narrated in this book, along with the issues of recession, hunger, joblessness, homelessness… are experiences and issues that have no geographic boundaries.  They are global.  Especially in today’s world economy. 

There are approximately 870 million people, worldwide,  who are experiencing  hunger. 

Book Details:

Genre: Non-fiction

Categories: Commentary, Economics, Economic Condition, Politics

Topic: Economic crisis in middle-class America. Real people. Real stories. Real issues. Complete with commentary, historical/comparative economic analysis and statistics, helpful resources, and philanthropic programs.

Available (in English) through the following worldwide Amazon sites:

        Europe:

amazon-kindle-and-bintang

 

Image via spartantraveler.com.

Nelson Mandela: an inspiration, not only to South Africa, but to the whole world

inMemoriam

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Nelson Mandela (from his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom)

NELSON   ROLIHLAHLA   MANDELA

b. July 18, 1918 / d. December 5, 2013

Nelson_Mandela-2008_(edit)

R.I.P.