Days of Auld Lang Syne


I wanted to write one more post, in this busy, blurry time between holidays. What words will sum up 2015 for you? In spite of the precarious state of our world (climate, terror, finances, politics), I will offer these:

  • Hope. Without hope, we live in a world full of despair. “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all. ” (Emily Dickinson)
  • Remembrance. Many of my friends lost loved ones this year, and whether death was expected or not, there is a loss. Fill it with fond memories. “There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.” (Aeschylus)
  • Words. Written or spoken, read or heard, words are powerful. Choose them carefully. “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.” (Yehuda Berg)
  • Challenge. Life is hard! Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, it’s simply right. “My greatest challenge has been to change the mindset of people. Mindsets play strange tricks on us. We see things the way our minds have instructed our eyes to see.” (Muhammad Yunus)
  • Warmth. Yes, our planet is heating up. Ice is melting, winter is warm. Do your little part. “Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” (John Muir)

And, as I do each year, here is my favorite performer singing a beautiful song for year’s end. Peace.

Old Long Since

I lost a friend about twenty years ago. It was because I gave unsolicited advice. No matter if I was right or not, it didn’t matter. I gave unsolicited advice and it broke apart our friendship for years. We mended it about eight years ago, patched it up as best we could, made peace, offered forgiveness. I showed up to her father’s funeral, she attended my mother’s wake. But so much time had passed. Her children grew up. Our lives changed and matured. The seas between us have roared and swelled. For her, my “trusty friend,” I raise a cup of kindness. For you, too.

It’s the best version of a song sung at the end of the year.

“Auld Lang Syne”  Kate Taylor
A new translation of the ballad “Old Long Since,” a poem by National Poet Robert (“Robbie”) Burns written in 1792 from a Scottish folk song of the 1680s.

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

For auld lang syne
for auld lang syne
should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne

We two have run about the hills
and gathered flowers fine
we wandered many a weary foot
since auld lang syne

We two have sported in the brook
from morning sun til dine
but seas between us have roared and swelled
since auld lang syne

For auld lang syne
for auld lang syne
the seas between us have roared and swelled
since auld lang syne

And here’s a hand my trusty friend
and give a hand of thine
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet
for auld lang syne

For auld lang syne
for auld lang syne
we’ll take a cup of kindness
for auld lang syne


Lyrical adaptation by Charles H. Witham
Kate Taylor:  vocal and guitar
musical arrangement by James Taylor

© Devil’s Bridge Music BMI,

No Resolutions – Five Promises for 2014

According to, the most popular New Year’s resolutions are:

  • Drink less alcohol
  • Eat healthy food
  • Get a better education
  • Get a better job
  • Get fit
  • Lose weight
  • Manage debt
  • Manage stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle
  • Save money
  • Take a trip
  • Volunteer to help others

All very noteworthy. But for the most part, you’re either making these things part of your day-to-day living or you’re not. To resolve to live a healthier life or get out of debt – fine (and eliminate that debt before you take that trip!). I’m not making any specific New Year’s resolutions. I will, however, make these promises, and not just for 2014:

  • I promise never to post a picture of my hands or feet online. I don’t understand why women feel the need to show their pedicures. And since I don’t want to look at your feet, ever, you’ll never have to look at mine.
  • I promise not to post any of those “share if you agree – only 3% of you will do it” posts. You know the ones: ‘No one likes cancer, so share this post if you hate cancer. 97% of you won’t share, only those who truly hate cancer will like and share.’  Stop with the extortion! Friends don’t practice extortion. 🙂


  • I promise not to retweet anything that includes Miley Cyrus or Duck Dynasty in it. I also promise not to blog about it (except in this one instance).
  • I promise to check out a news story for its veracity before sharing it on social media. Sometimes it’s just so easy to hit that button. I read it online, so it must be true! Not.
  • And I promise to use social media for its original purpose – to connect with old friends and establish new relationships, to foster those connections, and to provide quality, positive content. Feel free to hold me to that one.

Wishing you all the warm comfort of family, friends, heat, and food. Through the bleak midwinter, we march toward longer days. HOPE is a powerful word.

Now, what about you? Resolving? Not? New beginnings for 2014?

A Cup o’ Kindness

Reflections on 2012:

  • I became a published author! Finally realized a dream, one that followed me for decades through jobs that weren’t suited to my abilities (but jobs I did well anyway). It was after the lowest point in my professional life, one that still hurts to revisit, that I learned to follow my passion. And I learned a lot about the state of publishing today: I made mistakes, but along the way I also connected with some wonderfully thoughtful and supportive writers. Independent authors understand other indies. They provide words of encouragement. They cheerlead. They get it. Sadly, a few traditionally published authors let me down, big time. They may do well to recall the times when they were just starting out.
  • We made some major adjustments in the way we live. As a couple with no children and nearly zero debt, my husband and I had lived well when I was employed. We saved a lot but enjoyed what was left. I no longer receive a hefty paycheck every other week. And the economy is, well, precarious to say the least. Sharing a cup of coffee on the promontory of rocks at Beavertail Lighthouse, watching the Atlantic Ocean rush in as the sun lowers itself to the horizon, is a priceless indulgence.
  • Mended a fence or two with estranged friends. Sometimes a misunderstanding or miscommunication (especially through e-mail) can create a crack. That crack can turn into an abyss over time. Some friendships are worth saving – reach out and make the first move if it matters less who is right or wrong. That being said, let some relationships go. Moving on occasionally means releasing those who can’t move with you, and anyone who simply brings you down isn’t worth the trouble.
  • I read a lot of books. You want to be a better writer? Keep reading. Get an e-reader or stick with printed books, or choose both. Read whatever you like. Just read.
  • So much violence, so many heartbreakingly sad news stories. Nothing will change without meaningful discussion, and it’s not just about guns. It’s also about mental health and how we treat it. It’s about the desensitization of violence through movies and video games. And, of course, it’s about money.
  • I’d still love to retire to Switzerland. A couple of women I know have married and moved there, and yes, I know it’s not Utopia. Either way, I’ll keep dreaming about a return visit.
  • I’m going to stop at 400 words, because someone once told me to keep my blog at 400. Wishing you peace, warmth, love, and health for 2013. I raise my cup o’ kindness to you with this beautiful rendition by my favorite singer: