Dec 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

"Auld Lang Syne" is a Scottish poem set to music. Robert Burns was the first to record the lyrics and Guy Lombardo made it into the popular New Year's anthem. Tracing the origin of the song is really impossible. Like so many other stories and legends, what we have now is a combination of ancient bits and pieces. "Auld lang syne" means times gone by, and the reason it's so popular at New Years is probably because it's the time of year we tend to reflect. What good happened last year, what bad? What should we never forget?

Below are the lyrics, which I didn't know before I looked them up, and also a video.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll take 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 take a cup o' kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes
And pou'd the gowans fine.
We've wandered mony a weary foot,
Sin' auld lang syne.
We twa hae sported i' the burn,
From morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.
And ther's a hand, my trusty friend,
And gie's a hand o' thine;
We'll tak' a right good willie-waught,,
For auld lang syne.


Dec 22, 2008

An Irish Christmas Blessing

From Irish Culture and Customs

God bless the corners of your house and all the lintels blessed.
And bless the hearth and bless the board and bless each place of rest,
And bless each door that opens wide to strangers as to kin,
And bless each crystal window pane that lets the starlight in,
And bless the rooftop overhead and every sturdy wall.
The peace of man. The peace of God. With peace and love for all.

Nov 30, 2008

Share Your Favorite Christmas Tradition!

If you've clicked over from my newsletter, welcome! (If you didn't know I had a newsletter, go to www.brigidofireland and sign up. It's free.)

Please share your favorite Christmas tradition in the comments section.

Okay, maybe you have more than one. Just pick one...or two...or whatever you'd like.

From my earliest memory until my own kids were teenagers, we cut our own Christmas tree. We don't do that anymore, and maybe using an artificial one is more environmentally friendly. Teddy Roosevelt felt it was. Did you know he is the only US President to ban the use of a live Christmas tree at the White House? (According to at least one web site.) Anyway, when my dad was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, we used to go to the state park to cut our tree--it was free!! I remember one year complaining bitterly that the snow was too deep and I couldn't walk. I was told to pipe down. The snow wasn't really that deep. I couldn't make my mother, my father, or any of my three sisters understand. Maybe it wasn't that deep for them, but I was only three (or maybe four) and it was a lot deeper to my short legs!!

Your turn. Share your favorite memory or tradition!

Oct 20, 2008

Meeting of Authors

My lunch with Grace Bridges (author from New Zealand) and Cathi Hassan (from Cincinnati, not pictured.) Grace is traveling the world and is currently working her way across the US. See more of her videos here:

Aug 30, 2008

Outdoor Worship

I love outdoor worship (not to be confused with worshipping the outdoors!) Once a year my hometown church holds church outside. It was terribly hot, but I still enjoyed it. It was comfortable otherwise (love my folding chair!) and I feel closer to God outside of a building. That's a very Celtic concept, by the way!

Here are a few shots I took. The blue tent housed the sound guy. The singers were behind the little locust tree, and the band was to the left in the background. The worshipers were spread out, mostly in the shade where I was! Note the shoes in the first photo. I wonder if the man took them off because he was on holy ground. I admit that I slipped mine off when I saw that! :)

Jul 19, 2008

My New Book!

Celtic Wisdom, Treasures From Ireland is available for pre-order at Amazon UK, but strangely I've noticed other sites, like this, offering it now and posting the cover image.

I hope you'll check it out!

May 16, 2008

Happy St. Brendan's Day!

photo via creative commons by fhwrdh

I almost let this day pass. Shame on me. Brendan the Navigator is one of my favorite Irish saints because of two things: his wondrous journey, which had to have taken a huge measure of faith and trust in God, and the numerous monasteries he founded. He wasn't alone in that, of course. He is one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland--all of whom were hugely influential in the way they spread the faith. There is also the fact that he founded a convent, which was headed by his sister Briga. He took his dying breath in that place. It's a story (most of it in my imagination) that I hope to tell one day in a novel.

So, enjoy the day and look for your own adventure.
Read about Brendan here.

Mar 7, 2008

Irish Pub Bans Danny Boy!

The Irish owner of a pub in Manhattan has banned the playing of Danny Boy for the entire month of March. He says, "It's overplayed, it's been ranked among the 25 most depressing songs of all time and it's more appropriate for a funeral than for a St. Patrick's Day celebration."

While it's true that it's not a traditional Irish song (at least not the lyrics, which were written by someone who never set foot in Ireland) I find the pub owner's remarks amusing. St. Patrick's Day does, after all, mark the day of the patron saint's death.

Irish songs are depressing? Who would have thought that?

I do agree that it's overplayed. I'm tired of it myself. Your thoughts??

Read more here.

Mar 6, 2008

'Tis March!

Of course, if you're Irish, you're Irish all year, but everyone's a little Irish as we near St. Patrick's Day.

I ran a contest on my newsletter. It's too late to enter, but maybe you'd like to try answering anyway. (If you'd like to sign up for my newsletter--the prize this month was a t-shirt--go here or here.)

Which of the following is false?

  1. St. Patrick was Irish.
  2. St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland.
  3. St. Patrick was the first bishop sent to Ireland.
  4. St. Patrick's vestments were green.
(The picture is the Shamrock Club of Columbus Pipe and Drums at the Lancaster Celtic Gathering, March 1, 2008)

Feb 14, 2008

St. Valentine and Ireland

photo via creative commons by Canadian Pacific
The Irish seemed to be connected to everything! St. Valentine, a resident of Rome during his lifetime, is buried in Ireland. Well, at least some of his relics are there, and we think it's the same St. Valentine from which we get Valentine's Day. After nearly 1,800 years these things get confused sometimes.

How did he get to Ireland? His relics were a gift from Pope Gregory XVI in 1836 and reside at the Carmelite Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin. You can read more here.

It's a special day there where couples come to his shrine to receive a blessing on their lives together.

Feb 12, 2008

Be Thou My Vision - Healing Angel

Celebrate with me! I just finished my first draft of CELTIC WISDOM: TREASURES FROM IRELAND, to be published by Lion-Hudson this fall. This hymn, which was originally an 8th century Irish prayer, was a major influence on this book. It so beautifully illustrates the Celtic view of Christianity.

Feb 1, 2008

Happy St. Brigid's Day!

L Fheile Bride sona daoibh!

©Cindy Thomson
Feb. 1 is St. Brigid's Day, special of course to me because I am the author of Brigid of Ireland.

There are many traditions associated with Brigid, but none so special as the cross she wove to explain Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.

Here's an article on How to Weave a Saint Brigid Cross.

Did you know there is a band called Brigid's Cross? Visit them here. They are from Ohio. I just wonder how they got in that tree!

What's your favorite thing about St. Brigid? Let me know!

Jan 8, 2008

Celtic Wisdom

I found this in THE BOOK OF CELTIC WISDOM by Michael Scott, which has special meaning to those of us who write:

Words have a magical power.
They can raise up the spirits or dash them down.
They can bring laughter as easily as tears.
Spend words like a miser counting coins.
Make each word count.

Jan 1, 2008

Thoughts on Winter

What do you think about winter? Perhaps because it’s a new year, you’re making resolutions, organizing, exercising more. Or perhaps you find winter depressing, cold, lonely. Or maybe you think about winter this way:

Winter is a time of rest. The natural world rests and stores up energy for a new growth season. A fresh snowfall makes everything look new and clean. Colder weather forces us inside, closer together, with time to talk and share warm meals. In warmer climates, weather also brings rest from tourism and the crazy holiday schedule.

In today’s world, we tend to forget about rest. The invention of electricity meant work could continue all hours of the night. Our schedules stay full, and workloads often increase as people get back to their routines after the holidays (mine included.) But the truth is, God planned a time of rest for us. Darkness (something we have more of this time of year) is an indication that we should rest and restore ourselves. I’m going to try to remember that this winter. The cold, the snow, the long nights—all gifts to remind us that we need to take time to slow down, reflect, relax, and regenerate. And while you’re doing that, take time to look at the world in its wintertime beauty.

(This is one of the bluebirds that has been visiting me lately!)