Happy New Year–Randomly Flowing Thoughts from Me to You

I think this may be the first time I have EVER actually written a blog post on New Year’s Day and I’m not about to make a resolution that I will write a post every day, but I am making one to just be me. I made a resolution last year and I tried very hard to keep it all year. My resolution was to love radically. It’s not easy to love radically and some days I fell short of the goal, still each day, I’d start all over again and I am still doing that. I don’t plan to stop. I do plan to love those who persecute me and speak harshly about me. I plan to love them by just accepting that they are the way they are and it’s not my job to fix them or even change their minds about anything, especially me.

I’m not sure what loving radically involves but I have learned that only when I am in tune with my truest self, and accepting of that self, can I look at others and just accept them for who they are and not feel the need to change them. It has been a hard lesson for me over the years but I’ve come to understand that there will always be someone who misreads my motives, misunderstands my motifs and misinterprets my meanings. I understand that there will always be those who mistrust me without a true cause, who villanize me to validate their own actions and warn their kids about the “wicked witch up the road.” Bottom line, as a dear friend tells me, “Everybody has enemies.”

There is no way on earth to make everybody happy because we live in a world of fearful people who are always afraid of losing something. We live in a world where no matter how hard you try or how good you treat others, someone is going to be offended, someone is going to accuse you of ulterior motives, of arrogance, of….just fill in the blank.

So, how do we love radically in a world where being rude and selfish is the norm?  I think loving radically doesn’t always involve an onslaught of mushiness or warm-fuzzies but a simple acceptance without judgment. We may not ever be a person that the offended will want to speak to kindly or for that matter, at all, or even smile at, but we don’t have to hold bitterness in our hearts against them and we have to realize that there comes a time when it really isn’t about us. Everybody has their own battles to fight and their own roads to walk. So, I am going to walk mine with a thankful heart and let my light shine the best I can. Some may see me as a beacon of light, love and kindness, and others may not. It’s okay. I accept that. I think that’s what love and forgiveness are all about, letting go. I love me and I am thankful for my life on earth. If others have issues with me, I’ll try to avoid getting in their field of vision as much as possible, but I won’t stop being the person I’m meant to be. I’m wonderfully weird and creatively created and this year, in addition to loving radically, I’m going to be the most ME I can possibly be.

 

Dreams of a County Poet

No dream comes true and thrives unless someone is willing to support it. My friend, Jeanne Lane​ [kinship to the poet, Robert Penn Warren] and her daughter, Dawn Osborne, have had a dream for many years, to keep the oldest country store in America operational. Located in Gravel Switch, Kentucky, in the heart of Kentucky’s Knobs region, at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, is Penn’s Store. It’s a tiny building that sits on the corners of three counties with history dating back to before the 1850s.

101_6754Jeanne Penn Lane, speaking with a guest author.

ViviLnk
Dawn Osborne, Performing.

Jeanne and Dawn haven’t tried to keep the store open to make a profit. No, their desire was to keep something of heritage and tradition and family alive. Jeanne Penn Lane is a true historian, a curator of what made central Kentucky special and unique, a preserver of culture. But she is so much more. Jeanne and Dawn have always had a passion for the arts and for Kentucky. As a part of that, they initiated the Kentucky Writers Day held there each spring, in hopes of giving Kentucky writers, artists and musicians a place to share their voices, to make connections and to remember.

Jeanne’s one desire has been to give something of beauty and value to her community. Kentucky has long been the birth place of world renown artists, novelists, poets, musicians and actors. Jeanne and Dawn want the world to know this, to understand the caliber of people that come out of these hills, hollers, swamps, tobacco patches, saw mills, corn fields, hayfields, coal mines and creek beds. Throughout the years, celebrities have trekked from all over the world to sit around the pot-bellied stove in Penn’s Store and share their music with a receptive audience, even before they shared it with record labels. Prize-winning authors have sat on her porch and eaten a famous “balony sandwich” while bouncing story ideas off each other. Even modern day celebrities have graced the aged porch of Penn’s Store. In 2009, Turtle Man answered the Call of the Wildman and showed up with his Team Turtle to enter the annual Great Outhouse Blowout, a fun event that Jeanne has hosted for years in order to bring in much needed funds in order to keep the store operational. It’s a time when vendors can come and set up and people of all ages from all over the world can watch the outhouses race for the Golden Throne Award.

308719_2170075930448_722707637_n Animal Planet’s Turtle Man and Yours Truly, goofing around.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_of_the_Wildman

If you don’t live in the state of Kentucky and you are passing through, unless you check out Penn’s Store, you’ve missed a part of what makes Kentucky culture unique. It’s not the kind of thing with buttons, bells, whistles and all kinds of hoop-la, no, it’s real Kentucky, both the way it was and the way it is. It’s a piece of American history that has survived into the New Millennium and it’s a good piece, a piece worth keeping.

101_6807Me, posing for a shot with the timeless poet, H.R. Stoneback, who has worked diligently to keep Kentucky Writer’s Day and Penn’s Store operational. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.R._Stoneback

However, keeping a dream alive isn’t free nor is it cheap. Jeanne’s dream is to give others a piece of heritage, a piece of culture, an outlet for the arts but she needs help. I’m posting a link to Penn’s Store’s website where you can find all of their contact information. Most people could donate a few dollars to the store and help Jeanne and Dawn continue to offer events and opportunities for artists, writers, musicians and actors without it ever making a huge dent, but many small gifts could be the difference in whether the dream continues to live or whether it becomes just another forgotten paragraph of American history. I can’t help but reference Audrey Hepburn who said, “People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.” In this case, the people are those who have come before us in our human family. By preserving this piece of the past and the this hub of community in the present, we preserve something for ourselves and our children. And, she did also say…things. But Penn’s Store is more than a thing. It’s a piece of “life.”

101_6799Sarah Elizabeth Burkey, and I, hanging out at Kentucky Writer’s Day. Sarah is the Assistant Director of Music for the Cherokee Historical Association.

Here’s the link:http://www.pennsstore.com/history/history.htm Help in any way you can. No effort is too small. Sponsor an event, send a gift, go visit the store, be a vendor…anything helps.

Jeanne and Dawn have no idea that I’m writing this article. It was my own idea, but I want people to realize that this precious little gem has been buried in the hills of Kentucky all these years, this little unselfish piece of living history and heritage that seeks to help artist, musicians, writers and actors build a foundation for future endeavors. Let’s not throw it out. Country stores have become a thing of the past in most places, but here is one, still operational, that has existed since the 1850s. That’s living history. I hope some of you who read this will contact Jeanne and Dawn today and become a part of it.

You can contact Jeanne or Dawn via the contact info on their website, on their facebook page Penn’s Store.

101_6752When a person visits Penn’s Store, he or she travels back in time and feels a connection, not only with yesteryears but also with the earth itself.

Close Encounters

a tiny tree frog,
green, shiny,
no bigger than
my thumbnail,
revealed himself
to me while as he sat
on a hazelnut leaf.

I reached for my camera
to capture his “frogness”,
his nature, his yellow eyes
and brown legs, but he
fled the flash and left me
only a leaf.

a dragonfly hoovered
in front of me, blue,
shimmering as the sky
on pond’s surface,
with invisible wings.

I pushed the button
and she rode the wind
like a dandelion seed,
gone, leaving an empty
cattle field in my lens.

why they fled is more
than I know, unless
I came too close
to their world
while they merely
wanted to observe
mine.