Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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JusJoJan: Dead of Winter: Journey 1, Forlorn Peak

Linda’s Just Jot January prompt for today is “Specs.” The prompt will take us on a journey of vision.

Young Emlyn is the main character in Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene’s new fantasy series, Dead of Winter. Emlyn sees visions that get her in trouble if she isn’t careful. Her family thinks she is rattlebrained. Emlyn also hears voices and feels “…a light pressure, …. like something was too close . Or as if something crowded her, as if too many things were in one spot.” At one point, she encounters a large white wolf who speaks to her. You can see this wolf on the cover of the first book above.

Our main character lives in a village where men referred to as, “The brethren” or “elders,” have enforced severe restrictions on women including the wearing of plain clothes and limiting their activities to household chores. Emlyn is granted permission to take lessons in reading and numbers so that she can help her father with accounting for his apple orchard. That was generous of the elders considering they think her rattlebrained.

The person who teaches Emlyn is the widow Osabide who was banished from her village a while ago “when the zealots took over.” I have greatly enjoyed the images Teagan creates of Osabide’s cottage at the foot of “Forlorn Peak.” In spite of the peak’s name, the setting and relationship between Emlyn and Osabide give a feeling of comfort and support. This is also true of Osabide’s relationship with her mysterious grown niece, Zasha. I suspect these relationships will provide a strong foundation for the challenges ahead.

Don’t you just love Tegan’s book cover? It reminds me of a photo I took of my grand daughter when we were hiking and met the neighbor’s Great Pyrenees. If I’d thought about it, I would have moved to the left to include the river they’re looking at.

For more information on the first journey in the Dead of Winter series, visit Teagan at:

New Series Launch — Dead of Winter: Journey 1, Forlorn Peak – Teagan’s Books

For more on January jottings, visit Linda Hill, who has some interesting stories of her own, here:

#JusJoJan prompt the 25th – “Specs” | (lindaghill.com)


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One-Liner Wednesday Take 2: Democracy Cannot Be Defeated

Today’s prompt for 1linerWeds and JusJoJan was, “defeat.” I didn’t like it, though Linda used it in a very appropriate way. I wrote my first take on the prompt before President Joe Biden’s inauguration. After listening to Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hill We Climb,” I found the perfect quote for the prompt. So here it is:

“But while democracy can be periodically delayed, It can never be permanently defeated.”

Amanda Gorman

Ms. Gorman, at 22, is the youngest poet to recite at an inauguration. As a child she overcame a speech impediment, an auditory disorder, that she believes helped her become a better writer. Here is her whole poem:

For more on One-Liner Wednesday and Just Jot January, visit Linda Hill at:

One-Liner Wednesday/JusJoJan the 20th, 2021 – Defeat | (lindaghill.com)


19 Comments

Feelings From My Eleven Year Old Self

Writing my family history from my parents’ perspective is emotionally hard right now. The idea that it could some day become a novel is distant. I’m writing about the time when my dad was in Vietnam and my mom was trying to cope with her anxiety and depression and what do to with the family dog. That is the gigantic issue for me. Hoppy.

Hoppy 1967

I was 11 years old. Hoppy, a Newfoundland/Shepherd mix was my confidant. We had moved from Philadelphia to Michigan to New York staying with other families while Dad was in Vietnam. That summer we would stay in Quantico until dad finally got stationed at Camp Lejeune again.

Hoppy had been with us through each move. But something happened to him that spring in New York. I don’t know the truth. My mom made up as story about a sick little girl who needed him more than I did. I believed it. I suppose it could be true. Now, at the age of 65, I wade through my dad’s letters from Vietnam with fear as I approach the possibility of more clues. Any day now, I could read a letter that tells me more about what happened to Hoppy. My parents loved each other very much. It was a terribly hard time for them. I’m trying to look at the big picture and have compassion for all. I wrote this note to myself in my work in progress:

Note to self: Step back and look at the big picture with compassion for all. Allow your feelings. The truth is you don’t know what happened You might was well imagine something good.

So I tried to imagine Hoppy being adopted by a loving family. Then the grief broke through from that 11 year old girl who was me.

I LOVED HIM.

The sobs came and I prayed for guidance, for comfort. All I can do right now is reach back across the 54 years to that eleven year old girl whose body was changing in crazy ways, whose father was in Vietnam, whose mother was on the verge of another nervous breakdown, the girl whose dog was gone – and wrap my arms around her and hold her and tell her she is going to get through this.

In 1967, that eleven year old girl learned to shut down her feelings. She focused on school work and escaped into Star Trek. But she still had that pain and confusion buried all those years ago trying to accept the story her mother told her about her dog.

I guess that’s enough writing for today.

Here’s a family photo from happier times. Probably right after Dad got back from Vietnam since he’s pretty thin.

I’m the big girl on the right wearing hushpuppies.

I wrote this before checking the prompt for Just Jot January which is “button.” I guess we never know when we’re going to bump into a button that takes us back to our childhood, for better or worse, offering an opportunity for healing.

Linda’s Just Jot January story looks interesting. Click the following link for details:

#JusJoJan prompt the 15th – “Button” | (lindaghill.com)


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SoCS: Butternut Squash Soup with Peanut Butter, Our Neighborhood Creek and a Slow NaNo

This should be a fun prompt: “the last thing you put in your fridge.”

The last thing I put in the fridge on this Friday evening after dinner was the leftover butternut squash soup made my my sweet husband who offered to do the dishes even though he was tired. (We wash dishes the old fashioned way.) I thanked him, but it was my turn since he cooked. Though I did make some roasted asparagus to go with the soup. We make our butternut squash soup with peanut butter, a little garlic, a dash of red pepper flakes, and of course butternut squash. This was a really good squash – orange and lots of flavor.

It will be strange to have Thanksgiving with just me and David. Mama Cat will be here, but she’s likely to be hiding since she is still a little scared of David. I hope we get to go for a hike, at least to the creek which is about a half mile from our house.

The city gave the banks a crew cut a few years ago.
They’ve since gotten better about leaving a buffer.

If I have seemed distant from WP, NaNoWriMo is my excuse. I’m still writing every day on the novel based on my parents, though not likely to add 50,000 words as reading letters from Vietnam is slowing me down. I’m going to have to move it along though because we are heading into, barreling into, the end of November. One would think that staying home and being retired would make time slow down. But time just keeps zooming along. I guess I’ll just have to trust time and make the most of the moments we have. And be thankful.

I’ll be here for Good News Tuesday, but if I don’t “see” you, and even if I do,

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Today’s prompt and the whole SoCS shebang is brought to you by Linda G. Hill. For more info, rules, and streams from the frig, visit:

https://lindaghill.com/2020/11/20/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-21-2020/


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SoCS: A Missing Cat Mystery, SciFi Distractions and NaNoWriMo

Today’s prompt is the word, “trick.”

The first thing that came to my mind was that I don’t like tricks. Not right now anyway. Mama Cat, the feral one, has disappeared. I could say she’s playing a trick on me, but that would be making light of something that is heavy on my heart.

Wednesday, I let her explore the rest of the house outside of her room. I didn’t follow her because then she would go right back to her room and hide. I figured after twenty something days, it would be okay for her to explore more of the house. I fed her at 9:30 am and saw her walking cautiously in and out of rooms while I was on the computer. Then I did some work on a bookcase on the side porch being careful to close the sliding glass door after I went through it. Around 11 am, I could not find Mama Cat.

My neighbor who has had a lot of experience with feral cat adoption thinks she could still be in the house. I’ve looked under every bed and piece of furniture, in every closet and cranny. I looked into the crawlspace and even up the chimney. I’ve set out food and put her used kitty litter in the front and back yard. I wonder if I had a momentary lapse and left the sliding glass door open for a few seconds and turned my back and she slipped out and then pushed her way through the screen porch door which doesn’t latch well. And I feel lousy. Awful. Terrible. I’m sorry I tricked her into the carrier to bring her to my house.

But I can’t change the past.

Is this another lesson to leave things alone? I thought she would be safer in my home than at the church her daughter roamed from and got trapped and carried away. If Mama shows back up at the church, I’ll probably let her stay there and go feed her every day if necessary.

I have resorted to distracting myself with science fiction in book and movie form. Star Trek, Star Wars, a couple of scary movies, sleep… And going out into the back yard at night calling “kitty kitty kitty, Mama Cat,” and praying.

This has been a year of bad luck for many people. I certainly have had bad luck with my feral cats. But it’s not over. I know things can work out when we think they won’t. I know we can find good things in this year.

Another distraction as we lean toward the end of the year will be NaNoWriMo. I’ve threatened so do it for a few years and now I have no excuse. So I signed up and will be writing a draft of a novel in the month of November. Will I add 50,000 words? Who knows? But I haven’t been writing much beyond this blog, so it will be an improvement. My novel which I’ve barely begun with 13,000 words is based on my parents, Betty and Jim. I’m taking a 99% break from Facebook until the end of November. It’s a big relief to be out of that fray as I refocus my attention on something I have some control over. I voted already. I’ve voiced my opinions, I try to live a good life.

When life gets to be too much,

please pass the scifi.

No Jedi mind tricks.

Beam me up Scotty.

I vant to be a Vulcan.

BREAKING NEWS!

I was finishing up this post on Friday night, wondering about a video, when David came out of his “den” and said,

“Mama Cat just ran out of our bedroom!

She went straight to her room. I grabbed a can of food and gave her some. She wouldn’t stop rubbing on my legs. She ate some, used the litter box and then started getting hyper. She had been hiding for over two days or she was stuck somewhere, so must have a lot of pent up energy, but seems to be okay.

WHAT A RELIEF!

For more streams of consciousness, rules, and tricks, visit our host, Linda Hill at:


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One-Liner Wednesday on Writing Goals

Don’t Worry, Just Write!

While reading a newsletter from my Trust the Timing editor, Andi Cumbo Floyd, I realized my writing has gone to the back burner. I’ve worked a few measly hours here and there on the novel based on my parents, but I give way more attention to household issues which are primary.  One thing that has discouraged me from working on the novel is the research it will likely take on Washington DC and Vietnam. But I need to stop worrying about that and just write a first draft. Okay, maybe there’s some anxiety related to thoughts like, I’ve never written a novel before, and this seems like it’s going to be a long one.  Then there’s grief. January 21st will be the second anniversary of my father’s death. I must be processing grief as I write about my parents. Deep sigh. However, my goal is to finish a first draft by the end of this year. There. It’s in writing. But I don’t need to worry. I just need to write the first draft, feel my feelings, and breathe deeply.

one-liner-wednesday-badge-2018-19

One-liner Wednesday is brought to you by Linda G. Hill who has written a bunch of novels! Visit her and read more one-liners.

https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/02/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-2nd-and-one-liner-wednesday/

 


31 Comments

I Can Write a Novel (As My Parents Nudge Me From the Other Side)

stream-of-consciousness-saturday-2018-19

 

Can I really write this novel based on my parents? Can I fill in all the gaps using my imagination? Yes! I can. I’ve always had a powerful imagination. But I’ve used it to fantasize (and sometimes catastrophize) visually. Now, I’m putting it to work. When I wrote my memoir, Trust the Timing, I relied on my memory of the facts. I took journalism and technical writing in college. I majored in a science (though they called psychology a “soft science”) denying my creative tendencies, more like squelching them.

Dabbling in fiction, with my recent post, The Postcard from Malaga, about my parents, gave me confidence to get back to the novel about them that I started a couple years ago. Yesterday, when I was working on it, I got lost in their world. The world of two young lovers in 1950 in Washington DC. He’s a marine and she left her abusive husband with her baby daughter (my older sister.) Those are pretty much facts. But I made up stuff about their first date. I do know, because my dad told me, that my mom, who was not yet my mom, called up the barracks asking for some other guy. Jim (that’s my dad) answered the phone and said, “Why do you want to go out with that guy when you can go out with me?” And that’s how their romance started. While making up the details, I became so absorbed in their developing story, that at one point I stood up to stretch (my body knew I needed it) and for a second wondered where I was. It was very cool. Then I got caught/distracted about wanting to research restaurants in Washington DC in 1950 where they might have gone on their first date. That pulled me out of the story, but it was still fascinating because it was about the story.

Anyways, I need to remind myself that I don’t need to research a lot just to pound out this first draft. Yes there will be holes in it, and I’ll want to edit as I go, but they say just keep going, otherwise, this could take way too many years and I’ve not got unlimited years to work with. But I CAN write a first draft. I know I can.

Mom and Dad in 54 in Washington

(Betty and Jim, 1954)

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was: “can” with bonus points for beginning and ending our post with the word, can. Yes, I can do that, too!

For more information, visit our host, Linda at the link below. Linda, I hope you feel better real soon. Take care!

https://lindaghill.com/2018/10/19/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-20-18/

Here are the rules:

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. I will post the prompt here on my blog every 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 will simply be a single word to get you 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 all of them! 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 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!


27 Comments

Update: Gratitude, Books, and Bees

First, I want to let you know how much I appreciate you, my followers and readers. Sometime in May, I passed 2000 followers! What a surprise! It seems these things happen when I’m not watching the numbers. I wish I could read every post of every follower, and while that might be possible, life calls me to a variety of responsibilities and adventures. I do enjoy learning about people from all over the world as we share our ideas, hopes and dreams. Thank you for your patience and your support!

♥ ♥ ♥

Next up, my story, “I Almost Gave Up on Romance,” is now available in

The Miracle of Love. 

Chicken Soup cover The Miracle of Love

I’d submitted stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul twice before, but they weren’t accepted. Another reminder to persevere!  As I begin reading The Miracle of Love, I’m finding the stories rejuvenating and easy-to-read.

If you’d like the juicy (and mostly clean) details of my story, just click on my book, Trust the Timing, up on the right side bar for more information.

 

honey bee

And now to the BEES!

A little while ago I mentioned about the bees in the wall at my church and our plan to bring them to our backyard. It took a couple of weeks to get everything ready including putting up a fence around the bee area to keep Doodle out. Then we had to wait for the rain to stop. During that waiting, David noticed fewer bees coming out of holes in the brick and wondered if they’d “swarmed” to a new location.

On Monday, he opened up the wall while I handed him stuff and took pictures.

Dave up the ladder

Dave reaches into the wall

Once David opened up another section of wall, he discovered there were only a only few hundred bees and no brood. Most hives have several thousand bees. The original hive had swarmed. The bees present were likely “robber” bees from another hive attracted to the remaining honey. I prefer to think of them as scavenger bees doing a job.

Dave studying bees

David vacuumed the bees out of the wall with a very gentle vacuum he built himself.  The inside of the hose was smooth which is extremely important for bee survival. I’d been worried about this common procedure, but it worked.

Since this collection of bees was not really a hive (there was no queen), David decided to let them go. When he opened the box outside, hundreds of bees immediately flew away – hopefully to their own hive. A small group hung around getting their bearings, but went home before dark.

Being an aspiring vegan, I’m not 100% comfortable with this whole process, though it is interesting. David, who jokes about being allergic to fun, greatly enjoys working with bees. He had fun even though he didn’t get to bring home a hive. So I’m supporting him in this interest and learning a lot about bees myself. Besides, the  bees could not stay in our church wall, especially since our music director is allergic to them. The more I learn about bees, the more I appreciate them. As pollinators, they are part of a wonderful system and responsible for most of the food we eat.

Here’s a moving video about compassion for one special bee.


28 Comments

Being Assertive

SOC winner 2017

Hey, it’s good to be back home again. That line comes from a John Denver song. Speaking of John Denver, I just spent five days in the mountains. The Appalachians. Sort of got lost, but that’s another story. I need to get to the prompt for today’s Stream of Consciousness, which is “passive/aggressive.”

It’s a loaded prompt. Loaded with possibilities. The safest thing would be to go the clinical route. In my old job, I learned that passive/aggressive behavior is taking a dig or doing harm to someone indirectly, like putting something nasty in their food without them knowing it, or saying something mean and saying, “I was just joking. Can’t you take a joke?”

I am rarely passive/aggressive. But then often we don’t realize we are. Oh, I’ve had thoughts – fantasies about doing such and such… haven’t we all? But I usually catch myself and recognize that would be passive/aggressive.

I tend to be more passive than aggressive. Most people would say I am rarely aggressive. I’ve tried to move toward more assertive communication my whole life. Assertiveness is being honest with respect. Standing up for yourself without trying to hurt the other person, with I statements about your wants and needs. To a shy, mild-mannered person, being assertive can feel aggressive. Even saying, “I need some time alone,” or “I need you to stop yelling at me,” or “I will listen to you when you talk to me with respect,” can be a challenge. But it is possible and gets easier with practice.

Here’s another way to be assertive:

Say what you mean,

mean what you say.

but don’t say it mean.

 

Enough of the clinical. How do I work this prompt into what I really want to tell you?

I was not being passive when I submitted my story to Chicken Soup for the Soul for their book, The Miracle of Love, coming out in June. I was assertive! I believed I had a chance, even though I have submitted stories to them before that were not chosen. I figured, what have I got to lose?

And guess what! My story was selected! It made the final cut! It’s titled, “I Almost Gave Up on Romance.” Happy dance going on in my head.

Chicken soup for the soul_Company_Logo

Assertiveness can be standing up for yourself with yourself enough to take a chance on something good happening. And sometimes, it does. Just the act of submitting a story, or writing a story, or painting a painting, anything that feels good and right to your authentic self, is worth the effort, even if no one buys it. If it feeds your soul, do it anyway.

 

 

Today’s Stream of Consciousness Prompt is brought to us by Linda Hill at:

https://lindaghill.com/2018/04/06/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-7-18/

Here are the rules:

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!


17 Comments

Guess What I Found in my Attic!

Last week, I worked on cleaning out my attic. It was a dirty, sneezy job. I hauled paper and cardboard to the recycle bin, trashed the un-recyclables, and salvaged the action figures for my grandsons.

action figures lined up

 

But the coolest thing I found in the attic was my poetry notebook from high school.

Notebook from 1972

 

One poem written in 1972 is “prophetic” as my husband called it. David’s family moved away at the end of tenth grade. I must have written this right after he left, hoping against the odds that I would see him again and believing our love would stay alive.

Notebook page from 1972

 

I was so full of hope at 16. Angsty hope. But David didn’t answer my last letter that summer of ’72, and life went on. Over the years, my first love became a distant memory.

If I’d found this notebook in my 30s, I would have shaken my head and thought, “How sappy.” But now, it reinforces that this love story was meant to be. Our love never died. It just went dormant and waited quietly for 39 years.

You can read about those 39 years and the lessons we learned along the way in

Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.

Did I really know our love would stay alive? Or did I help manifest our re-connection? Was it all part of God’s plan? Did the angels see a window of opportunity and nudge us in the right direction?

I vote for all of the above.

Oh, how I wish today’s teenagers only had learning and love to deal with.

 

Hang on to your hopes.

 

Good things coming