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Awesome Stories 325

This week’s Brad brings us Awesome Stories that are both practical and beautiful. The story about auroras in Iowa gives me hope for one of my bucket list items. Maybe I won’t have to face the freezing cold to see auroras after all.

writing to freedom

This week Awesome Stories brings you cultural awareness, solar biogas,  auroral magic, and ocean cleanup.

Reading Around the World

I love the message from Ann Morgan about opening our minds and life by reading books from around the world. She realized that her life view was rather limited by only reading books from the UK and US. To expand her views, she decided to read a book from every country in the world and blog about it as A Year of Reading From Around the World. I love this idea so much I might join the challenge to read a book a month from another country. Ann talks about the richness she gained as she reached out to people from around the world to recommend books or help with translations. But the real gifts were the stories and realizing how diverse, interesting, and complex we are as humans.


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Horses and Dreams



I got to thinking that I have not written much about horses here. I used to own a horse when I was in my twenties. Her name was Blue Babe, and we were both high strung at the time. I don’t know why she was high strung, but I was in my twenties, which for me was my messiest time of my life.

Horses have always calmed me and excited me at the same time. Something about their sturdiness, and being in control of something so large and powerful. Though today, I try to have a looser rein when riding.

JoAnne on Horse trotting (3)

Yesterday, I went to help out at a summer day camp at Ashton Farm where they have horses. I’ve ridden there when my church group goes once a year. But yesterday, we did not get the horses out because it was too hot. I wondered how I would do being out in close to 90 degree sunshine for most of the day. I arrived at 10 AM (there are advantages to being a volunteer) and stayed until about 2:30 when the kids were getting on the bus.  I helped out with a bee sting and other camper bug bites and wrote names on construction paper ribbons for winners of the long jump, chicken catch, and other camp games.  It was a good day, and I’m glad I was able to hang in there with the kids and the teen and young adult camp counselors.  Still, I think I’d rather go as a day camper and relax, ride the horses, and kayak on the lake.


This small farm is my ideal. If I could live anywhere I wanted, it would be on a farm like this, with horses and dogs and a big farm house with a wrap around porch, where you can see the stars at night.


Maybe it would be in the mountains, or the foothills, where it’s a little cooler.  Maybe I’d have art therapy and meditation groups, and yoga classes.

I would definitely have campfires, and singing, and drumming.


Campfire at God’s Whisper Farm, another dreamy place where I went to a writer’s retreat.

In the meantime, maybe I’ll do some of those things

in my own back yard

of my little urban cottage,

until I get my farm.

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt, brought to us by Linda G. Hill is, “rain/rein/reign.”

You can find more SOC stories at Linda’s place:

The rules for SoCS are:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!




Powerful images and perspectives on courage.

Steve McCurry's Blog

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
– Nelson Mandela


“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin,
but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”  
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Helsinki, Finland

“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones;
and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.
God is awake.” 

– Victor Hugo

Kolkata (Calcutta), India

“All happiness depends on courage and work.”
– Honoré de Balzac

Peshawar, Pakistan

“Courage is found in unlikely places.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Kampala, Uganda

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India


“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
– Mark Twain


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8 Ways to Keep Going When the Journey Gets Long

     Path to beach

 ( Today’s post comes from my June Newsletter. )

  Most of us have seen that ancient quote by Lao-Tzu,

  “A  journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.”

     It’s a good motivator to get us started. But what about when you’ve been taking those steps for a while, and the journey of a thousand miles feels like two-thousand? Lately, I’ve felt that way about my book.

     Don’t get me wrong! I love my book. I believe in my book. But it feels like high time for my baby to leave the nest and fly out into the world. Yet, I keep getting these opportunities to trust the timing. Thanks, God.

     I know my past six years of book writing is a drop in the bucket compared to some journeys, and I’m glad I got to learn so much about the intricacies of writing, editing, revising, book cover design, ….. (and the technical stuff – but let’s not even go there except for this picture.)

crossed eyes in confusion

Technical glitches. (Add 50 years and messy hair.)

      The good news is that publication is right around the corner. I can see it! I have real paperback proof copies being proof read as I write this. And I am thankful. This journey has been worth every step.

So, What does it take to keep going, to not give up, when we tire of the journey?  Here are some things that can help:

1. Rest. Take breaks. But don’t rest too long, because there’s that inertia thing.

2. Do something totally different. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, get outside and move!  Use different parts of your mind and body. Stretch your legs! Put on some music and dance! (I’m talking to myself here, too.)

3. Get a fresh perspective – ask for honest and encouraging feedback. Ask for positive feedbaMakeck along with constructive criticism. What do they like? What could be better?

4.  Consider changes. Research, then trust your gut. Maybe there’s a different path to take that just feels right. For me, it was the decision to publish under my maiden name – a big, inconvenient step but one that brought peace of mind and forward momentum.

5. Break big jobs into small parcels. Take one chapter at a time or one paragraph at a time, and congratulate yourself for getting through each step.  I have clutter issues. Hey, I’m an artist! It helps me to focus on one corner, counter, or table top and de-clutter that small space. Then I stand back and admire the “after” picture.

6. Think about the reason for the finished product, whether it’s a clean table top or a published book. What are the likely benefits? How will it improve your life or help others?

7. Pray. Ask for what you need, be it guidance, strength, balance, gratitude, or patience.

     Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.

                                                   (Dr. Joyce Meyer)

8. Remember that “Nothing is impossible.” That’s what my father told me when I was 12, and it stuck. Here’s the poem I posted for him last week:

What’s the next step on your journey? I’d love to know.

Atlantic Beach steps

If you liked this post, I hope you’ll subscribe to my monthly newsletter via the sidebar to the right. (If you already subscribe, thank you!)  In addition to updates on my book, I include encouraging tips and ideas on life, relationships, and stuff I’ve learned in my 60 something years.


“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress

can be measured by the way in which its animals are treated.”   


  Mahatma Gandhi


horse close up by Ayla

This photo was taken by my daughter, Ayla.

One-Liner Wednesday is brought to us by Linda G. Hill who blogs at:

where you can be inspired or tickled by more one-liners.

One liner Weds 2017



Here are the #1linerWeds rules which I sometimes follow:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our very cool badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!



On behalf of Mom: Thank you!

More good news! Irene is making good progress! Take care, rest well, and grow strong, Irene! You are in our prayers.


Dear readers,

This post is written by Claire, Irene’s daughter. Mom has been at the hospital since Thursday the 8th of June and is still there.

After many days of sleeping she finally woke up. She is still in the intensive care unit and will need some time to recover. We are not sure if it will take weeks before she will be home again.

Mom is a private person and to her it was a big deal even revealing that she doesn’t feel well. So for her sake I will allow her to decide which details to share and which details she wishes to keep to herself. But I would like to assure you that the issues she is having are physical and not mental.

To Mom, her blog and fellow bloggers mean the world. She tells us about her friends, about common interests and about why she likes…

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