Is Autumn only at the fall of the leaf

Autums prismatic colors arrive as crisp and as golden as an apple, while you carve your smile into a thousand pumpkins.

When it comes to Autumn splendor, there is no place on earth to feel it better than in Central New York’s  Leatherstocking country– our home. It’s a seasonal feast that captures an abundant palate of unforgettable nourishment, and fills our plates with plenty of colors to stimulate our five senses; especially our intuitive sixth sense of “mysticism”.  It’s a door that opens to a world full of the sublime things yet to come. Autumn makes everything seem right with the world. Things in life just seem to be “better.

The kaleidoscope of magnificent colors is bewildering. Pumpkins, burning leaves, apple cider, apple fritters, and a never-ending assortment of some of the best apples grown this side of the Pacific ocean, don’t even begin to round out the menu. All roads lead to one of nature’s best performances. Take the back roads as much and as far as you can. They will lead you to the small villages, quaint shops, the best food, and everyone’s favorites; antique shops, old red barns, and covered bridges. It’s time for all of us to surrender to the magical world of Autumn in Leatherstocking country.

As you can tell, I’m already very contagious, so if you want just a little of what I’ve got, wave to me if you see me. I’ll be out there somewhere and I’ll even buy you breakfast!  It’s the American thing to do!

Now get at it…

“Love From The Start”

From the pen and perspective of Darlene Liepke:

When I was small, my world how it changed
with just a grandma, I took her name
she kept me with her both night and day
lived in her house, I was there to stay
our house seemed so big, I had my own bed
a beautiful table where she kept me well fed
I didn’t know about a family of three, a mom, a dad, and a little girl… me
But gramma had love for a family of ten
these things I remember from way back then
she let me be spunky, she let me be free
I wrote on the walls, she let me be me
and her friends became family, helped with their hearts
made me one person, from all their parts
I became a grownup way too fast, learned things aren’t fair, learned things don’t last
but the one thing I take with me day after day is that families are different
in so many ways, it’s a mixture of laughs and tears streaming slow
teaching you things from your greats long ago
when I tuck my children tight in bed, hug them, and kiss them on the top of their head,
I will always remember what was placed in my heart,
family is love right from the start

– Darlene Liepke

Beyond The Pavement, Feelin’ Right At Home

The Place Where We Belong

Central New York’s Leatherstocking Country is one of the most beautiful places to live in the world; a statement I have consistently heard from hundreds of people I know who have traveled to almost every country there is.

Within the boundaries of the five counties that make up this sublime chunk of American soil, lies a world filled with exceptional people, places, and things of great significance and deep historical value; and it’s only a stone’s throw away. (Writers aren’t supposed to use clichés, but I didn’t have the time to make up a better one).

Time has moved on, but the villages are still colored with a golden glow, shaded with elms, framed with woods, lakes, ponds, and streams, and they haven’t changed a bit. There are backcountry roads and covered bridges, which will lead you across plowed fields, battlefields, down hidden scenic paths, and hiking trails that will coax you along to places yet to be discovered. The call of Mother Nature still rings out to each and every one of us loud and clear; her voice echoes the beauty, peace, and tranquility she offers throughout all of her four marvelously distinct seasons. 

This place we call home steeped in Iroquois history, succinct fictional stories, celebrated fables, and back roadhouses with one or more gables, is where together as neighbors we can do the most good.

Get out as often as you can and make new friends, new memories, and seek out places and things you never knew existed within the boundaries you set for yourself.  Take your dog along to scare away any varmints, pocket pets, along with a menagerie of other delightful critters you find along the way. Your children will take in a pocketful of miracles and their heads will be chock full of delightful memories that they will unlock someday to share with their children when the time comes. So, rise up with the beautiful sunrise, and don’t come home until the sun sets on the horizon.

Isn’t that what home is really all about anyway? You know, that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you know you belong to someone or something? Especially when your dog and kids have a few smudges of chocolate around their mouths when you pull into the driveway when you get home.  With all of its unmatched beauty, this place is for you and your children to stay put and to call your home. Besides, there’s not one blade of grass in the whole wide world greener than the grass in our own backyard.

Love where you live. It’s the best place there is to call home.

Delightedly Childish

Living in the present is essential to our well-being, and the child in us is what makes all things possible — all things worthwhile. Here, you may find yourself again living in a world of renewed playfulness, without concerns about money, productivity, or being “cool”. Delightfully candid snapshots of children worldwide will teach us that there are no limits to our imaginations and that everything we need is within our grasp. Children make us better adults. Let the child in you give rebirth to the things you once thought were lost forever, while you take them by the hand and follow them while they guide you to the abundant tranquility you will feel by living in the moment.

Every child is an artist, teacher, and healer. Watch them at play and as they dream with their heads in the clouds, while they paint a new world for you to help you regain your sense of wonder and heal your wounds. 

Fickle Mirror

Each morn I greet a brand new day

My Mirrors look at me and say

“You look the same as yesterday”

Can it be my youth won’t slip away?

I’ll always walk with a peppy gate       

And hold my back and shoulders straight

Father Time will have to wait

For I’ll escape the aged’s fate

Awe, fickle mirror what’s that I see…

Tiny lines where taunt skin used to be’

Silver strands that seem to dance with glee

And mock the youth that remains in me

“It’s not so bad” these frail bones sigh”

“To face the fact one day I’ll die”

In the face of death, my heart behaves,

It’s’ peaceful balm my spirit craves…

To escape the vessel that now enslaves

-from the pen and perspective of Carol Wood/ aka Platoon Nana

A Wave Of Unhappiness

Fretting Children 

What is wrong with today’s children? Why does one in four have experienced a probable mental illness”; which means that one in five has had anxiety, depression, or both? Many kids with horrendous anxiety and self-harm are becoming paralyzed. 

The figures are certainly shocking, but what is driving this global “wave of unhappiness” amongst children?

There is obviously something missing, but how do we address it? How can we make things better? 

We can say they’ve got everything; cell phones, this, that, and the other.. but that’s clearly not enough. The answer for parents is simple; Do something. Talk about it, learn about it, and take a close look at what your child does.

Setting boundaries with this age group is just as important as it is with toddlers. As adults we should know that they need boundaries or they’ll behave in even more dangerous ways until they discover them for themselves; then it may be too late. Look for the signs; kids who harm themselves as a result of social media exposure are saying; help me, it’s out of my control. If your kid is pale, tired, and miserable most of the time, they are asking for your help.

Young people today lack meaning; a sense of connection and belonging. The “rituals of togetherness and family life are slowly melting away. If you’ve got kids, spend “positive” time together. Stop just talking about it. Healthy brains are a result of positive and loving memories. Memories are made of “moments”. Make everyone count. 

Independence Day, A celebration of Americas Spirit

Healing and growth through the Stars and Stripes

Shrouded in both history and to some degree the mystery of its creation (even though the story of the American flag has been recounted many times by historians), it’s symbolism is only partly understood.

Deep within the design of freedom, Old Glory possesses the energy to heal the conflicts that have found a permanent place inside of ourselves. With this spiritual power and it’s deep ancestral wisdom, we can break away from these chains of affliction and discontent, and heal our wounds like those who came before us.   

The noble course of America and the divine purpose of God under whom many an American still lives must never be separated. However, as much as she may stray from alignment with this direction, and however much she may become vulnerable to the forces whose intentions are not compatible with her divine mission, in the end, she will be what God intended. That being the full expression of the divine light upon the earth, recognizing this light as the path home, and the fulfillment of our own reason for being. 

From the days that lie ahead, when we see our flag of freedom blowing in the wind, hanging from a pole of righteousness, or draped over the coffin of one of our beloved soldiers, we must always recognize the power she gives to melt away our fears and fill our hearts with hope, healing, and patriotism. 

Vulnerability, the last thing I want you to see is the real me.

We are living in a world that to some of us seems to be a world without connection. I am not referring to the world of being connected by technology, but the world of being connected to each other. My belief is that we are neo-biologically wired to feel connected to one another, but there is one major reason we deny that wonderfully human emotion called love to grow, and that is — vulnerability.

With all this “data without a soul” we seem to seek every day, our perception of if you can measure it, it does not exist, allows us to become disconnected from each other and prevents us from being human.

Life is messy, love it anyway
Don’t jump into discomfort, lean into it
Have the courage to be imperfect
Connection is why we are here, it gives real meaning to our lives
We believe we are worthy of love but fear that we are not worthy of connection
Find that compassion to be kind to yourself first — then you can be kind to others
As a result of our own authenticity, we will gain a compassionate connection to others around us
Fully embrace “vulnerability”, believe that what makes you vulnerable —  also makes you beautiful
Revealing all that we are is not comfortable, but it is necessary. Without it you can never be the “real” you 
Letting someone in so far they could hurt you, will allow them to give you everything
Vulnerability is the willingness to say I love you “first” —  with no guarantees of receiving it back 
We try to numb our vulnerability, but we can’t selectively “unfeel” our emotions
There are no assurances in life, but let yourself be seen, and love with an open heart
Being unprotected is the birthplace of love, life, joy, and belonging to God

I am empty, come and fill my soul with who you are. I am at a loss for words, but in my silence still hear me.

But most of all — believe that you are enough…

Bury The Past? – Never. But stop digging up the bad stuff!

 The New America– A Vision of Promise

Throughout history, conflicts abound (and are of such intensity that they) create so much suffering that humanity, in order to remain aligned with the roots of its conscience and morality, must seek to address the root causes of such conflicts, bringing an end the destruction that their continuance would create.

Such is the time we are now engulfed in; a time in which the latest separation of our ideals upon which our country was founded is fading quietly while rapidly being replaced by fear, hostility, and suspiciousness. Yet, in the meantime, it’s creating great dissension between certain groups of people. There is no remedy for this strife other than that there cannot be a world of peace where one brother fights against another, feels that they are of greater importance than another, or have less of a right to exist than another. What affects one nation affects the world, and the consciousness of humanity must soon grow to incorporate and embrace this truth so that the world as a whole can finally find a resting place of peace and harmony. 

We need not bury the past, it has its rightful place, but constantly digging it up in favor of fueling hatred and anger among its people creates an eternal chasm of unsettled and ongoing separation. 

Love for America has many colors and visible good, and these may be seen to join together when trust is present to work toward a common good.  For America’s virtue is not her might or economic superiority, it is her grandeur in pronouncing the spiritual truths by which all men may live, and her righteousness is creating a path toward the realization of these truths. 

The “new patriotism” that America needs is based on its diversity, not homogeneity of belief. It is based on honor and trust, not on fear of one another. It is also based on a changing view of America’s role in the world toward one in which she stands proudly among nations, wearing the banner of morality and integrity that has to do with faithfulness to her ideals, not to be better or greater than others

The freedoms of yesterday are as priceless today as they were then. It is time for all to awaken to the need to preserve and protect that independence upon which America has been built, so that in unity with one another, America can move forward past the darkness that has descended upon her, into new construction of identity.

This new consciousness will be both a healing and a rebirth for the fundamental principles upon which she has always stood.  They are necessary to the furtherance of the destiny of America and they are essential to the advancement of the positive rights of the people, not to be erroneously mistaken for “negative” rights that permit or require doing nothing. Freedom and self-determination must belong to all or they belong to none. We must find a way of speaking with each other, and of seeking the accord that may only be found beneath the outer disturbances of relationships within the true essence of unity that rests below.

A new consciousness must be established for our children to bring forth for righteous sake and the sake of our nation’s future dedicated to the collection, cultivation, and preservation of her sacred honor.