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Melania Trump and Michelle Obama

I am the odd woman who rarely cries when sad.  Tears are more apt to flow for happy reasons, like at the end of my favorite cinema version of Jane Austen’s EMMA.  When Gwynneth Paltrow alias Emma says “My Mr. Knightly!”, the floodgates crumble.  (I have only watched that film about 123 times—give or take.  Perhaps with viewing number 124, I’ll be able to handle my favorite line.)

Or, I will cry when suddenly confronted with an incredibly lovely scene—especially one that pops up in an unexpected place.  One doesn’t expect sheer loveliness or gracious beauty to surface at our nation’s capitol these days.  But a glimpse of tea with Michelle and Melania has given me a breath of fresh air.  

I hope this photo will travel everywhere around our confused and confusing world, promoting the fact that we Americans some times do some things the right way!  Here are two lovely ladies—poised, confident, obviously very intelligent.  Not yelling and screaming and rasping about how wonderful they are and how they are going to be all things to all people.  Not grasping for personal power.  Just being themselves.  Even wearing skirts!  Seemingly enjoying each other’s company, and contented with woman’s time-honored role of standing beside her man.

Of course it will be fine and fitting to have a woman president, the right woman who understands the intrinsic honor and joy of being a woman.  But I pray/pray/pray that our Someday Woman President will be a Margaret Thatcher kind of person, rather than any other possible options!!!

Meanwhile, thank you Michelle and Melania for showing us that moments of beauty and grace can happen—even in Washington D.C.  🙂

Margaret L. Been  — 11/11/16



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The Ballad

Colors and Beyond.jpg

The Summer of Horses

Summertime was far too sweet that year

too poignant-berry, forest-trailing sweet.

Unhinging time, they cantered wild horses,

never touching earth beneath their feet.

She rode a silver steed–Euphoria,

and he, a red roan–Cavalier by name.

They let the horses lead them, unaware

her horse was blind and his was going lame.

Through the forest, over bluffs they rambled

and found a cozy inn beside the road.

“We’ll tie the horses here, and eat,” they said,

never sensing what the place might bode.

As they settled in a sunny-windowed corner

affording them a dazzling ocean view,

they were met with smiles, and graceful hands

and silky voice too honeyed to be true.

They waited, waited, waited for their meal.

She gazed out at the ocean breakers’ gleam,

while restlessly he rose and turned a corner–

unknowing things are rarely what they seem.

Finally food was served by graceful hands,

and silky voice–and pleasing, winsome smile.

They ate; their meals were fine, and yet the two

were vaguely apprehensive all the while.

Time began to move; now they perceived

an air of subtle, hidden treachery

disguised in graceful hands and winsome smile,

and silky voice skilled in duplicity.

“We’re never coming here again,” he said.

She agreed.  And when he went to pay

his pockets were empty.  As he’d turned that corner

graceful hands had whisked his cash away.

The eyes behind the winsome smile gloated

as the disenchanted couple raced across the lawn

to where they’d tethered the horses–for alas,

Euphoria and Cavalier were gone.

Margaret Longenecker Been

Note:  There is the ballad I mentioned in the last blog entry.  Balladry is far removed from my usual poetic voice.  If you love poetry but have never visited the Ekphrasis page on this site, you might want to try it. 

“Ekphrasis” is simply poetry that goes with art or art which reflects a poem.  I haven’t added to this page for awhile, but now am inspired to share more of my poems and art in Ekphrasis.

Margaret L. Been — April 24th, 2016

Another note, April 26th:  Please visit one of the loveliest websites I’ve ever discovered.  Just GOOGLE “Alicia’s Roses” and you’ll get there.  You will only wish you’d found it sooner!  MLB

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Good morning, Readers.  For the first time ever, I am re-blogging.  Here is an essay from my Grandson, Nathaniel Been’s webpage.  Nathaniel is a student at the University of Colorado at Greeley.

Were more succinctly relevant words ever spoken or written concerning the chaos and confusion which characterizes the United States of America today?

Read my Grandson’s words and weep!  MLB


An Appeal to Reason

The Pitchfork

We exist in a world of division, a world of forced duality where middling or outlier opinions are marginalized . We are either Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, et cetera. we are presented one of these titles and immediately are immersed in an echo chamber of consenting opinions, surrounded by others who laud with verbosity our belief, while the singular “other side” are demonized and ignored. If you support US intervention in the Middle East you either are praised as a true patriotic American whose goal it is to liberate those who have been systematically oppressed or you are slandered as being a warmongering drone whose only desire is to kill innocent civilians. If you support Bernie Sanders for President you are either a true defender of the poor and impoverished, one who is taking a stand against a horribly corrupt government, or you are an entitled, uneducated…

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I have a huge problem with the hackneyed saying:  “Less is More”.  I know that’s the current trend in decorating and other areas of everyday life, but in most of those areas I disagree.  In many instances I believe that MORE IS MORE!  For example:


jammy time 2


Art 3


Fiber studio




Fox Gloves


adversarial buddies

(Now we have one corgi, Baby Dylan, but there were decades of multi dogs and cats—not to mention but I will, Guinea pigs—and finally years of sheep, angora goats, rabbits, geese, ducks, and chickens.)

Little Treasure

(↑This little treasure was born in the burrow beneath our patio garden, a couple of summers ago.  One of our favorite pastimes is sitting outdoors and watching the chippies scurry hither and thither.)

silly cat

(Debbie’s “Skids”)



Sunday is a day of rest!


Tea 3


Behind the Wheel


My Childhood River

. . . winter is lovely but I confess, I wouldn’t mind just a little bit LESS!

Margaret L. Been, February 24, 2016

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Birches II

In recent years, I find myself giving more advice—breaking a lifetime policy of rarely inflicting personal opinions unless requested to do so, or in situations where someone’s wellbeing is threatened apart from my input.

Always having found advice-givers to be highly annoying, I’ve militated against joining their ranks.  But now I’m holding forth because I believe that most anyone’s wellbeing is jeopardized without the following, standard bit of wisdom:

Find a passion!  Don’t grow old without it.  And especially if you live with chronic illness or pain.  Don’t neglect those creative aspects of life that make aging and chronic health issues not only do-able, but downright enjoyable—even exciting!

I’ve been blessed with many passions:  family, friends, my precious corgi Dylan, books, writing, knitting, wool spinning, music, gardens indoors and out, and now painting.  Art making is new for me; even ten years ago I did not have the foggiest idea that I’d be able to enjoy a lifelong dream.  God saved that one for me to launch when—along with all the other passions—I needed it most.

Most essential to ortho and other health issues, is to keep this body moving! Sitting for any length of time is a huge challenge.  I’ve even learned to stay home from church and other chair-confined events on the most dicey “no sit” days.  Lying in bed (supine or even with pillows) is the second greatest challenge, and for those sleepless nights painting is my great friend.  I paint standing up, and incorporate whole-body motion into the piece of work.

Art making would be wonderful enough if it ended right here, in my cozy bedroom corner studio beside a husband who is contented to sleep through soft lighting and my nocturnal whims—along with George Winston providing a mellow piano background.

But also, painting has led to a spate of new friendships, activities, and opportunities for sharing my art in our community.  Meanwhile, the history of art movements and artists has become a fascinating, inexhaustible area of study.

Thus I feel not only justified in giving advice, but actually responsible for sharing.  Don’t forget your passion.  Don’t grow old without at least one, and every day will be a fantastic adventure!

We are created in the image of a Creative God.  He desires that we somehow reflect His creativity.  Yes, He will answer prayers concerning ways we can honor him with the gifts He has given us.  When God moves, He brings a whole new quality of refreshment to an already abundant life!

Margaret L. Been — September 9, 2015

Note:  If art rings your chimes, you can check out my MESSY PALETTE blog:   https://northernview.wordpress.com/

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The Sun is Setting . . . .

The sun is setting on America

This gorgeous photo is one our grandson Tyler brought home from his year of study in New Zealand.  In the picture, the sun is setting over New Zealand, and it’s a beautiful sight.  But when the sun sets on a nation . . .

It has happened again and again, throughout human history.  Nations rise and fall.  From Ancient Greece and Rome, throughout centuries of empire building, right up to the horrific Nazi regime of my lifetime, the sun has set on nations.

Seemingly forever, it was said that the sun would never set on the British Empire.  In my mind Britain has been among the finest of empires, although my Revolutionary War and Irish ancestors would disagree.  Britain is still Britain—a very positive presence in the world.  But, Britain no longer rules the ocean.

I’ve never considered America to be an “empire”—although we have sometimes operated empirically.  Our past is shadowed with infamy regarding our treatment of Native Americans and African-Americans.  We have been a work in progress.

America’s strength and integrity have stemmed from:  1) our Constitution which in essence promotes justice by curbing the powers of any one branch of government; and 2) an ingrained morality due to our Judeo-Christian world view, and the initially declared-to-be “One nation under God.”

Whether or not our Constitution has been compromised in recent years is a matter of political debate; I believe that it has!  Meanwhile, recent legislation and Supreme Court rulings prove that our ingrained morality—wherever it may remain and continue—is no longer a matter of national policy.  In 2015, America is no longer one nation under God.

God has been incredibly patient with America.  Millions of unborn children (and we discover, some newly born children) have been murdered—sacrificed on the Baal altar of “convenience” masqueraded as “choice”.  In the America of my heritage, murder was high crime—and never a legislated option.

Marriage has been desecrated to legally include unions which are an absolute abomination to God—the Judeo-Christian God whom we are supposedly “under”.  Our legacy rightfully mandates equal civil rights for the myriads of religions and cultures in our midst; but never were our “under God” cultural standards, based on Biblical morality, to be desecrated.

Yet tragically, there is one more vastly crucial issue that places America in line for the deserved judgment which God has lovingly, patiently withheld till now:  the area of America’s dealings with Israel and God’s people, the Jews.  In His Word God says of the Jewish nation (the seed of Abraham):  “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you . . . .”  Genesis12:3a.

The United States of America has traditionally and consistently welcomed and nurtured the Jewish people.  They, in turn, have contributed immeasurably to every area of American life from intellectual pursuits, science and industry, to the arts and American culture.

God has prophesied the Jews’ return to their land.  “It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left . . . . and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”  Isaiah 11:11a, and 11:12b. 

Obviously, the above prophecy could not have dealt with the Jews’ Old Testament captivity—as in that era they were “dispersed” to Babylon, and not to the “four corners of the earth”.  The return from captivity in Babylon was the “first time”.  The 1948 establishment of Israel as a nation is the “second time”.  In my lifetime I’ve been privileged to realize the Jews’ return to their homeland—as precariously challenged and valiantly defended it has been.

Per the website of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum:  “At midnight on May 14, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel proclaimed the new State of Israel. On that same date the United States, in the person of President Truman, recognized the provisional Jewish government as de facto authority of the new Jewish state (de jure recognition was extended on January 31). The U.S. delegates to the U.N. and top ranking State Department officials were angered that Truman released his recognition statement to the press without notifying them first. On May 15, 1948, the Arab states issued their response statement and Arab armies invaded Israel and the first Arab-Israeli war began.”

For Harry Truman’s recognition of Israel, he is immortalized as a hero by me and countless lovers of Israel.  Meanwhile, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have (to use common vernacular) “thrown Israel under the bus” via Kerry’s “peace” agreement with Iran.*

Even many Christians have thrown Israel under the bus, by failing to take literally the Old Testament prophecies and countless New Testament verification thereof (including Romans chapters 9 and 11, and the books of Jude and Revelation).

I’m fully aware that some of you readers will disagree violently with all of the above.  That is your right.  But I have one request:  wait, wait, wait to see what will predictably happen next, unless a radical reformation occurs in America!

Daily, constantly I pray for revival in our land—and a widespread return to Biblical righteousness.  America is so far gone, so corrupt at the national and many other levels, that only a drastic movement of God’s Spirit could turn us around and bring us back to being “One Nation under God”.

If America fails to return to God’s standard—if babies continue to be brutally murdered, if immorality continues to be legalized, and if Israel continues to be compromised by our nation’s leaders—the sun will not only set:  it will go down with a bang!

Margaret L. Been—September 5th, 2015

*I cannot see the face of John Kerry on the news, or hear his name spoken, without picturing in my mind September of 1938 when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to London from a conference with Hitler.

Chamberlin waved a piece of paper in his hand and declared:  “A British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour.”

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Piano Musings, Recollections, and Resolution . . . .

music 2

In a good week I have four or five of them:  piano days.  I never sit down to play without thinking of childhood.  How pleased my mother would be with this daughter who, when young, preferred to putter in the shallow creek at the base of our property (crunching on ice floes in winter and catching pollywogs in the summer) to the discipline of piano and violin.  Yet practice I did, many hours per week.  Mom gave me no alternatives.  I had to do a couple of hours of music before messing about in the river.  Mother was passionate about music.  She was a classical pianist, and sat me down at a piano long before I can remember.  At age eight I began my 10 year stint of violin lessons.  I thank Mom for her music passion.  Throughout adulthood, music (especially vocal and piano) has been one of my passions as well.

Mother was unique—so different from some Moms, and how I praise the Lord for that!  Now and then I was allowed in the kitchen to make chocolate chip cookies.  After every meal I helped with the clean up; Mother washed the dishes and I dried them and put them away.  (That was special bonding time.)  But I NEVER cooked a meal.  I picked up a few tips from kitchen observation, but I was not taught to cook.  Mom’s famous words were:  “Soon enough you will grow up and have to cook, and since you can read you’ll be able to manage!  Anyone can cook!” 

I was taught to work.  I had to clean the bathrooms and do the ironing (both of which I absolutely love to this day).  But Mom was the cook.  We frequently had company for dinner and my job—my wonderful job!—was to get out the silver, china, and stemware, and set a beautiful table.  The centerpiece was my domain; I had free reign to arrange flowers, candles, and whatever else I could dream up.  Even when there were only the four of us at the table—my parents, my sister, and me—I dressed the table and took enormous pride in the job.  I still do!  My mother wanted me to invest time in reading, knitting, stitching, and doing other creative things along with the music—rather than cooking.

Obviously, as a wife and mother of six children, I did end up doing a lot of cooking and baking over the years!  My mother was wise.  She schooled me in the even more vital, life energizing creative things that bring grace, beauty, and elegance to those chores we have to do in the midst of life’s inevitable challenges.

I’m eternally grateful for both of my parents, and the older I get the more I think of them.  My father traveled frequently because the company he worked for (Lauson Motors in New Holstein Wisconsin/the company eventually became Tecumseh) was knee deep in wartime production.  But when Dad was home, he was my Dad!  He frequently came home with the gift of a book for me, and he always wanted to read whatever I had been writing.  The greatest boost I can recall was when, at age 11, I showed Dad an essay I’d written for a school assignment.  Dad read the text carefully, and said:  “You really think thoughts!”

I could go on forever and bore you readers to distraction about my delightful life, but I won’t.  I hope to stop short of causing abject ennuni!  Meanwhile, much as I have always thought New Year’s resolutions to be rather silly, I have set a goal for the coming year:

To constantly evoke a rather maudlin, corny old Bing Crosby tune the lyrics of which went:  “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative . . . “.  Not that I subscribe to “the power of positive thinking”.  Mankind is fallen, and without intervention of the life of Jesus Christ we are lost.  The power of positive thinking is hogwash.  I cannot eliminate ISIS by thinking.  We cannot change our nation, by just thinking; we must pray and WORK—and then only God’s Spirit will make a difference!  Just “thinking” will never deal with the horrendous world issues which our clueless, muddleheaded, and/or downright evil President refuses to acknowledge.

Only God can change the world, and eventually He will—as He has promised through ages of Old Testament prophecy confirmed by the Lord Jesus in the Gospels, as well as in the New Testament Epistles!  Meanwhile, as I pray and live as the Lord leads, I can—as old Bing crooned—“Accentuate the positive”.

Here is an example:  rather than continuing to spout off about Obama’s idiotic State of the Union address, or grousing about the Packers’ failure to complete their great start against the Seahawks last Sunday I can (and am!) robustly cheering Speaker John Boehner for his classic End Run around our President, by inviting Benjamin Netanyahu to address The House of Representatives on the threats of Iran and Islamic terrorism.  Clearly, the Seahawks—even Obama’s speech—fade into the back of my mind, next to Boehner’s Play of the Week—maybe the play of the year!

To summarize, my goal is to continually and faithfully focus on and publish good news.  But specifically, what do all these musings have to do with a piano day?  Simply this:  On my piano days I begin by struggling over the few Chopin nocturnes I can even dream of playing, adding some easier classics such as George Winston’s arrangement of Pachelbel’s beloved Kanon, lightening up with a Scott Joplin rag or two, and ending with my treasured book of Gospel hymns including Amazing Grace. 

AMAZING GRACE!  Forty four years ago almost to this very day, I was catapulted in the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  It was a bitter cold day in January of 1971 when I entered the Kingdom.  The sun pounding down on the pristine banks of snow was so bright, so exquisite, so unspeakably and amazingly beautiful that I still experience a flush of joy when I think of it.  And every time I play Amazing Grace, the wonder, brilliance, and joy of that day is new—all over again!

Salvation and eternal life in Christ.  That is the “positive” to accentuate, the Good News which tops all else—yes, even John Boehner’s Fabulous End Run around our misguided, muddleheaded, and possibly (quite probably!) evil President!  🙂

Margaret L. Been—January 22, 2015

Note:  Here is an aside:  my pick from the cast of GOP contenders for nomination is Dr. Ben Carson.  Someone new, someone non-political, someone with real straight arrow values—although others in the list, including our own Governor Scott Walker, project straight values as well.

In his book, ONE NATION, Dr. Carson begins by demonstrating how “political correctness” has undermined our nation, as it is literally killing freedom of speech and promoting dishonesty at many levels.  I can accentuate the fact that I positively agree 

Dr. Carson is outspokenly Biblical in his views on the sins of abortion and homosexuality.  He is not afraid to quote Scriptural references, and point to God’s Word as the ultimate authority.  Coming from a distinguished man of science, this is especially refreshing!

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