Save the Children with Books!



Waterstones has launched an industry-wide campaign to raise £1m by urging people to “Buy Books for Syria”.

In an unprecedented step, the industry’s top publishers from Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster to indies such as Profile Books and Canongate are donating titles from big name authors such as David Walliams, Neil Gaiman, Victoria Hislop and Ali Smith for Waterstones to sell through their stores under the ‘Buy Books for Syria’ banner, with 100% of the retail price going towards Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Appeal.

The charity promotion will begin on Thursday (1st October) with titles displayed on tables front of store in Waterstones’ 280 shops, stickered with the ‘Buy Books for Syria’ name.

The offerings will include both frontlist and backlist titles from a vast array of authors including Mary Beard, Alan Bennett, Michael Bond, William Boyd, Bill Bryson, Tracy Chevalier, Lee Child and Julia Donaldson.

The company’s m.d, James Daunt, is committed to launching the appeal despite it being the industry’s most crucial time of the year in the run up to Christmas.

He said: “In desperate times like these, everyone feels the need to do something, to help in some way. We are doing what we do best: bookselling, and it only feels right that every single penny of each book sold will go straight to Oxfam. We are proud to be able transform the generosity of authors and publishers into such a substantial contribution to Oxfam’s work.”

He told The Bookseller that “some-perhaps most” of the sales would substitute “sales upon which otherwise we would be earning money” in the run up to Christmas but added that the company was “very fortunate to have an owner and board who have put this to one side and supported the initiative.” Waterstones is owned by Russian oligarch Alexander Mamut.

Tom Weldon, c.e.o of Penguin Random House UK, added: “We often speak as an industry about the power of books to change lives – our aim with this campaign is to use the power of books to save lives. I’m humbled by the way publishers and authors are collaborating to support Waterstones and Oxfam in this initiative. I hope that together we can make a difference.”

The original idea for the campaign came from Profile editor Mark Ellingham. The titles in the appeal include Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Profile), War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (Egmont), Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (Vintage), One Day by David Nicholls (Hodder), The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury) and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Quercus/MacLehose), among others. Publishers have provided between 1,000 and 2,000 copies of all the titles to be sold for the appeal.

Support from UK publishers includes Atlantic Books, Bloomsbury, Canongate, Egmont, Faber, Granta, Hachette, HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan, Penguin Random House UK, Profile, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster and Usborne.

Other authors involved in the appeal include Mark Haddon, Matt Haig, Robert Harris, Khaled Hosseini, Max Hastings, Marian Keyes, Linda La Plante, Andrea Levy, Hilary Mantel, Peter May, Alexander McCall Smith, Caitlin Moran, Michael Morpugo, JoJo Moyes, David Nicholls, Ian Rankin, Tom Rob Smith, Salman Rushdie and Jacqueline Wilson.

Nicholls said: “This is a wonderful initiative, turning our passion for the written word into practical help at a time of terrible crisis.”

Smith added: “I support this initiative with heart, mind and soul.”

Mark Goldring, c.e.o of Oxfam, said the £1m of raised would help its program of delivering clean water to another 150,000 people in Syria, or providing support to tens of thousands of people in Jordan over the next year. “This help is urgently needed as the conflict in Syria shows no sign of ending,” he said.

Earlier in the month, authors and publishers lead by Patrick Ness helped to raise over £600,000 for Save the Children’s refugee appeal by pledging to match donations from members of the public.

Helping those in the refugee camps is important. There have not been this many refugees in Europe since WWII. Hey, Rock world, how about a benefit concert? Let’s all come up with ideas to help these poor people who have lost everything. They are our brothers and sisters. This is one world and we all share it.



The Divine in Me and the Divine in You

The Head of the year


The moon is dark tonight, a new

moon for a new year.

It is hollow and hungers to be full.

It is the black zero of beginning.


Now you must void yourself

of injuries, insults, incursions.

Go with empty hands to those

you have hurt and make amends.


It is not too late. It is early

and about to grow. Now

is the time to do what you

know you must and have feared


to begin. Your face is dark

too as you turn inward to face

yourself. the hidden twin of all you must grow to be.


Forgive the dead year.

Forgive yourself. What will be wants

to push through your fingers.

The light you seek hides


in your belly. The light you

crave longs to stream from

your eyes. You are the moon

that will wax in new goodness.

—Marge Piercy; novelist and poet


When I write to you, it is the Divinity within me singing to the Divinity within you.

We all have Divinity within us. We never lose it.

Life is Divine; my life and yours.

Divinity is the shimmer in the sky, it is the colors of the trees.

My Divinity bows to the Divinity in you.   —Barbara Mattio



“We still don’t know how to put morality ahead of politics,

science and economics. We are still incapable of understanding

that the only genuine backbone of all our actions—if they are to

be moral—is responsibility. Responsibility to something higher

than my family, my country, my company, my success.

Responsibility to the order of Being, where all our actions are

indelibly recorded and where, and only where, they will be

properly judged.”

—Vaclav Havel


” All celestial harmony is

a mirror of Divinity



is a mirror of all

the miracles of God.”

—St. Hildegard of Bingen



Kwan Yin is a Buddhist goddess. She is the goddess of compassion. She is only one of

the images of the Divine in our world. We all have our favorites. She is one of mine because

compassion is so important and needed in our world.  Namaste, Barbara


Rebel Girls: 95 Photos of Feminists around the World

I found these images posted by Carmen at — 95 images of women protesting against their poor treatment, against their subjection and for their right to be equal.


Here in America we call it the Equal Rights Amendment.  Across the world it is called Human Rights, and it is the most universal right of all — the right to self-determination, regardless of sex or economic class.


We are not alone in our struggle, the struggle exists across the globe, wherever women are seen as objects and possessions, instead of equals and partners.


Could you look these women in the eye and say:  you are not as good as a man?







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A Thought on Comedy

I believe that we all can say that the world is stressed. Both in the sense of hatred, violence, and bigotry and in the sense of the wars going on. It causes a sense of negative energy and anxiety for many people. If we add in the outbreak of Ebola, there is much pain in the world. There is a War on women started by the GOP. It is not limited to America. I don’t want to belabor these facts.


My father always said that laughter was healing. It is very good at balancing negativity and allowing our bodies and souls to exhale. I have decided that I wanted to give my readers something to make them laugh and laugh hard before going back to reality. It is important to detach and allow our bodies to destress. I hope you enjoy these videos.


The first video was one of my father’s favorite skits. It is very funny and I am sure many will remember it. The second video is one of my favorites. It is from the Carol Burnett show. From left to right you will see Tim Conway, Carol Burnett, Vicky Laurence and Dick Van Dyke. I hope you have a few minutes of stressless bliss. Feedback would be appreciated so I know if this is something that you feel is helpful.


















Reality Check



Welcome to the real world.



The Milky Way. If we destroy ourselves, what happens to the universe?

The Milky Way. If we destroy ourselves, what happens to the universe?




Dolphins living free until we completely destroy our planet

Dolphins living free until we completely destroy our planet




Twilight on boat launch at Avon. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

Twilight on boat launch at Avon. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014



California Poppies. Another gift from Mother Nature.

California Poppies. Another gift from Mother Nature.




Upper Waterfall in Letchworth State Park. The Genesee River has formed a gorge. We must take care of the gifts from Mother Earth.

Upper Waterfall in Letchworth State Park. The Genesee River has formed a gorge. We must take care of the gifts from Mother Earth.

We have to take care of our planet. It is more important than oil, money, arms, greed, jealously, bigotry, injustice, hatred and war. We must take care of Mother Earth. Our planet has changed greatly during just my lifetime. There is a supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park. If it blows, it will destroy most of America. Yet we continue fracking, mining, polluting the earth and the air. We must stop. To choose not to stop is to commit suicide.



 Great Spirit


Great Spirit,

give us hearts to understand;

never to take

from creation’s  beauty more than we give;

never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed,

never to deny to give our hands for the building of earth’s beauty;

never to take from her what we cannot use.

Give us hearts to understand that to destroy earth’s

music is to create confusion,

that to wreck her appearance is to blind us to beauty;

that to callously pollute her fragrance is to make a house of stench;

that as we care for her she will care for us. Amen     —U.N. Environmental Sabbath Program





Praying for Mother Earth.

Praying for Mother Earth.


Only a self-destructive species would do to our planet, what we have done.

Only a self-destructive species would do to our planet, what we have done.

Song of the Open Road


Song of the Open Road


Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Health, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.


Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,

Strong and content I travel the open road.


The earth, that is sufficient,

I do not want the constellations any nearer,

I know they are very well where they are,

I know they suffice for those who belong to them.


(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,

I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,

I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,

I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)


You air that serves me with breath to speak!

You objects that call from diffusion my meanings

and give them shape!

You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!

You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!

You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides!

I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.


All seems beautiful to me,

I can repeat over to men and women, You have done such good to me

I can repeat over to men and women,

I will recruit for myself and you as I go,

I will scatter myself among men and women as I go,

I will toss a new gladness and roughness among them,

Whoever denies me it shall not trouble me,

Whoever accepts me he or she shall be blessed and shall bless me.   —excerpted from Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass



Acrylic painting of courtyard in the French Quarter. Painted and copyrighted 2009

Acrylic painting of courtyard in the French Quarter. Painted and copyrighted 2009 by Barbara Mattio









The Bahamas. Photograph taken and copyrighted 2013

The Bahamas. Photograph taken and copyrighted 2013














Our Journey in Life

Autumn color

Autumn color

          Presque Isle, Pa.

The present moment, the here and now moment is the most important moment. Each moment is fleeting and passes us by very quickly. When we are children the present moment is their entire world. As adults, we know that each fleeting moment will be followed by another moment and another and another. The present moment of time in the history of the universe because it is the only time we have any control over.  This is why it is important to teach our children what is important, which values really count, and hope we have given them what they need to carry on after we are gone.

This means walking our path and traveling our journey. A major part of our journey in life is figuring out what our purpose is.  Just what is the reason we are put here? If our lives have not been enchanted, we wonder what is wrong. If we have experienced violence and abuse. Even though we are almost at the end of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month,  Abuse can and will happen at any time during the year. You may not hear as much or read as much about it as you have been this month but those of us who  do work or did work in DV are still here and caring for your safety. Once again, I have to say you are never alone. If attempts are being made to isolate you, we are here. The hotlines will still work, the shelters will still be there and nothing will ever change this fact.

Purple ribbons signify that we do not accept Domestic Violence

Purple ribbons signify that we do not accept Domestic Violence

Be assured you were not put on a path of slavery, abuse and other forms of violence. The strength and determination to get yourself out and to a safe place is inside you. God wants none of us to suffer. You must not listen to the abuser who is telling you how stupid, and ugly you are. Emotional abuse will include that no one else will want you, you are a terrible parent, no one cares about what happens to you. If you are hearing lies like this know that they are not true. The Divine One is within you and you are strong, you are beautiul, you are intelligent.

So what is the reason we are here? Where is our journey taking us and what are we to discover? Some people find their answer with work, others with their avocation. Some form a link between the two.  To change the world for the better you don’t need to be a king, a prince, president or a prophet. God’s plan is that it only takes one human being, doing good right in the present moment.

Inside of yourself are seeds for you to sow. Seeds of hope in your own heart and in the hearts of people around you. This is how you build bonds by the ties of hope and trust. When you put yourself into a place of hope and trust it builds not only within  ourselves but also for the world. A positive, hopeful countenance to the world, then the small world that we call our everyday life can become richer with meaning and filled with the positive presence of hope.

 Truly Magestic Tree that come from a seed someone sowed to make their world a better place to be.

Truly Majestic Tree that come from a seed someone sowed to make their world a better place to be.