Sunday, September 25, 2016

A REMINDER OF HOW "TIME PASSES" #49, #50, and #51

The mind so often wanders into territory we cannot control. Reining in our thoughts takes more conscious energy than we sometimes have to spare. Lapses are normal. But complete loss of control is unbearable, for everyone involved.

#49
I Will Wait
 
A profusion of color, or dull confusion?
Photo taken at Fremont Street, Las Vegas

She knows it is time.
The waiting is over as her
feet trail along well-worn steps
in an increasing haze of confusion. 

At the landing she pauses to
survey the familiar room below.
Wonders if she could delay just until
the last pie cools on the twisted wire rack. 

Sugary apple syrup
bubbling over, sizzles on
aluminum foil inside the oven.
Certainly, no need to hurry anymore. 

Smoke billows suddenly and without
warning. Perplexed, she listens to
the harsh ring of the telephone,
or maybe what she hears is
only the treacherous
buzzing of the
stove alarm.

Best now to stand right here
And greet the inevitable.
It is past time.

Betrayed by the failing mind of age, thoughts shift and bend until the normal patterns of life masquerade as puzzles that confuse.
 
* * * * *

#50
Time Passes
 
Cherry blossoms mark
Early spring
Ambitions bloom
With the energy expectations provide 

Waves splash the summer shore
In independent harmony
With the sounds
Of childish delight 

Idealistic shards of
Yellow, orange, and red
Blanket a pregnant earth
In breathless anticipation 

Nature regenerates in white slumber
Absorbing a universe gone before
Knowledge shared, to thrive
In the next half century 

Each season offers unique insights and varied delights for adults and children, marking a pleasant though relentless passing of years, leaving ever more obvious traces of time spent and wisdom gained.

* * * * *

#51
The Next Half

Facing forward
with expectant wonder,
she counts crystals in each
purple drop
of rain. 

Thunderous silence
fills her mind with lightning,
trapping future visions in
the pulsing beat
of time. 

Joie de vivre is coursing
through her bloodstream,
soothing rhythms
casting yet
another fate. 

While moonlight
focuses on wave-tossed
beaches, and trade winds
circle ever-changing,
near horizons.
 
* * * * *

Have you reached the half-way mark of your life? Maybe you haven't yet decided when that time will be. Death isn't something we normally dwell on, or discuss daily. But whether discussed or ignored, it is inevitable. Life expectancy can reasonably be set at 100 for many people. Therefore, 50 is a practical number to choose as a half-way mark. 50 cents is half a dollar. 50 years is half a century. Once you start looking at it that way, half a century, you realize that time does indeed pass.

Joie de vivre is coursing through her bloodstream  . . . let it course through yours, also.
N o w !

Sunday, September 18, 2016

EVERY DAY, ANOTHER HOLIDAY #46, #47, and #48

Life has a way of moving forward, even when you feel you are making no progress. Each event is part of living. Not everyday can be a celebration or a holiday, and the troublesome times make the good times all that much better!

#46
Good Life Ahead
 
Heliconia Blooming in the Backyard
 
Unpaid leave, hospital stay
then home, empty-handed again.
Cupboards lacking
Wallet bare. 

Part-time work, nights
at the old folks home.
Salted crackers and loose tea bags
From the commissary cart. 

One day you will be
rich as Midas, with golden
sunshine gracing the lanai and
mangoes ripening on the shelf. 

Every day, another holiday.
 
* * * * *
 
#47
Another Holiday 
Her birthday and
opening day of fishing
clashed each year.
She said it did not matter when
they celebrated, or if the gift
was wrapped. 
The game continued
year to year:
he never forgetting to
plan ahead
she always joking that
one day the rules would change.
This year the same as last,
but different. Far beyond retired,
the fishing tackle sold.
The cake awash with surreal light,
they celebrate on Cloud 99.
Candles not required. 
This year the parents celebrated their 99th birthdays in heaven, surrounded by the brilliant light of many relatives and friends. Their marriage was a loving partnership that allowed disagreement and compromise as acceptable avenues of dialogue. They instinctive knew how to pick their battles.
 
 * * * * *
 
#48
No Candles
Your special dessert, Auntie,
bring enough for everyone
Picnics in Neshotah Park;
Potluck; Easter on the farm. 
Memories accumulate.
The canvas fills with poppies,
like distant stars waking in
A shimmering sky. 
One final request,
if you have the time.
Can you bring
your special dessert, Auntie? 
I’ll wait for you.
 
A tribute to Auntie Lucille for her love-filled poppy seed cake with cream cheese frosting; and to Leigh for a final request fulfilled.
 
 * * * * *
 
This trilogy of linking poems is more personal than some of the other offerings of linking poetry within Another New Beginning. While each poem was written from remembered thoughts of past experiences, these three reflect a stir of memories accurately represented by a smile of sadness. Sad only because life is so fleeting and we don't become aware of its rapid passing until we look at it from a position of stillness.

With the sound turned off, every action has a new interpretation.  That thought just came to me and may not apply here, but I liked the feel of the words as they rolled around in my mind. Before you write  the final chapter of your life, before you ask for that special dessert, before you reach Cloud 99, take some time to turn the sound off in your hectic life and absorb the sight of a shimmering sky, the flavors of a favorite cake, conversation with a loved one, and turn your differences into a successful enterprise.

Enjoy the good life ahead, before you spend another holiday with no candles.
 
 

Friday, September 16, 2016

My #Goodreads Read and Review Challenge Week-47

This week, I have chose three diverse selections. One is a short book loaded with fascinating information about celebrities, the second is a mystery novel with an unusual setting, and the third is a Kindle World novella set on Valley Isle of Maui.



LETTUCE READ WILLS by Una Tiers 
 
This is a short book, but it is packed with fun and interesting information about famous people and the contents of their wills. Attorney Una Tiers also gives sound advice to us lesser, or at least less wealthy, mortals about having a will and updating it in a timely fashion.

I was quite surprised to learn of certain wealthy people who died without a will.

The author also includes excerpts from her mystery novels. 

 
* * * * *
                
BREAKING MEASURES by Emma Raveling
 
 
The setting for this mystery is a refreshing change from the streets of overpopulated cities or back alley bars where many murder mystery bad guys can be found on a Saturday night. Raveling gives the reader a front row seat to piano concerts after the grueling practice sessions of Leila Cates in her youth. Then comes center stage spotlight performances in Paris, and on Broadway. Her talent is unparalleled and her star rises ever higher as she leaves audiences awestruck. Or does she?
 
When the lifeless body of a performer is discovered and Leila is considered a person of interest in the police investigation, for good reason, she must confront the lies that led to her heady and headlining career. This coming of age novel, for all its rich musical scores and hard fought fame, lays bare the unavoidable ache of reality in most every life.    
 
 
* * * * *
 

DARK DAWN The Lei Crime Series (Kindle World Novella)
by Fiona Manning
 
If you haven't had an opportunity to read any Kindle World novellas yet, why not begin with The Lei Crime Series? I've read several, including Hoaka Moonshine by Laurie Hanan. Now Fiona Manning has submitted a novella that features Lei Texeira's partner Pono and his wife Tiare. What Lei doesn't realize is that wedding planner and eager matchmaker Tiare has Lei in her sights as a future bride. 
 
Tiare is less eager to deal with the schoolyard bullying that her nine-year-old daughter is experiencing. That the school was situated on the slopes of Haleakala on the paradise island of Maui didn't make it any easier to accept. Even worse, now her Auntie Keke is missing. Tiare, prepared to do anything to find the woman who raised her, prays through streaming tears that her favorite auntie isn't dead.
 
 
* * * * *
 
 
Next up: 


BONES NEVER LIE by Kathy Reichs
 
WEAKEST LINK by Fiona Quinn

THE BLESSED EVENT by Frankie Bow

 
 
* * * * *

 









Sunday, September 11, 2016

KNOWING FULFILLMENT: Poem 45 from #AnotherNewBeginning

45
Knowing Fulfillment
 
Taffita of ice blue; white embroidered
swirls, boat neck collar. Outer trappings
tell the world. Today, her day, brings
Fulfillment 

In church, younger cousins nod, envious
until their turn arrives; Older relatives
offer knowing smiles while
melting wax mingles with the fragrance
of simple wooden pews infused with
years of trailing incense. 

Will she remain faithful,
renounce, surrender
in belief and obedience? 

Strength conferred
by gnarled hands laid on.
Confirmation
of a good life ahead.
 


Dressed to represent a bride of Christ, a baptized child receives the Catholic Sacrament of Confirmation.

When a child is born in the Catholic faith, Baptism is the first sacrament received. Baptism is the one sacrament that all Christian denominations share in common. In the Catholic Church, infants are baptized to welcome them into the Catholic faith and to free them from the original sin they were born with.

From the dawn of Christian history, Baptism and Confirmation have been very closely associated. Confirmation is defined as the sacrament of spiritual strengthening. More concretely, Confirmation strengthens the supernatural life we receive in Baptism. Confirmation increases our sanctifying grace in every way, but mainly in deepening our capacity to remain spiritually alive. It gives us the power of resistance, the ability to resist dangers, and the strength to become more Christ-like until the dawn of eternity.

The above poem, Knowing Fulfillment, describes my remembrance of a day set aside to celebrate the strengthening of my belief in Jesus Christ. For me, as a young girl, it also meant wearing a beautiful new dress hand-crafted by my artistic mother, a fancy cake designed in the shape of a bible, and relatives gathered in love.
 

POSSIBILITIES: Poem #44 from #AnotherNewBeginning


#44
Possibilities 
 

Happiness bubbles up from
a cauldron of endless possibilities,
giving rise to celebrations
only imagination can provide. 

At sunrise, reach for the sky
atop Mount Haleakala,
or from the comfort of
your own back yard. 

Drink sparkling liquid
laced with fresh-peeled lychee
while relaxing in the sensual
jet stream of a soothing hot tub. 

Hear the waves splashing along
Atlantic and Pacific shores; dance
flamenco in Madrid; enjoy the swans
in Brugge and Boston Common. 

All this, and more, isn’t
happiness realized;
knowing you can dream
is the true fulfillment. 

 
This is one of those prose poems that needs little explanation beyond the reader's own interpretation.

Pleasure is often derived from lingering upon memories that once brought happiness. But the knowledge that you can continue to find happiness in everyday life, without chasing rainbows or searching for pots of gold, is what truly matters.

Knowing that contentment is within easy reach, within yourself, is happiness realized.


*****     *****     *****

 

Friday, September 9, 2016

My #Goodreads Read and Review Challenge Week-46

As I near the end of my Goodreads reading goal for October 2015 - October 2016, I am pleased to find ever more exciting novels to entertain me when I want to read for pleasure. My range of choices for September will include newly published novels, an anthology, a Kindle Scout winner, traditional and self-published novels.

* * * * *

FEAR DREAMS by J.A. Schneider
Author J.A. Schneider seamlessly shifted from writing medical thrillers to a psychological thriller, adding a paranormal twist without requiring the reader to totally suspend disbelief.

My goal in reading novels is to be entertained by a plausible story with believable characters, colorful settings, and especially satisfying endings. FEAR DREAMS earned my 5-star rating by delivering on all accounts.

Several excellent reviews on Goodreads, (including those by Uvi Poznansky and Melanie Adkins) offer insight into the plotline and the author's ability to portray a character's almost tangible fear.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29522370-fear-dreams?from_search=true


TALES FROM THE CACAO TREE Anthology of Short Stories
Chocolate is a food choice for me. I can make a meal out of mini peanut butter cups. A box of Godiva chocolates takes me back to my father's ancestral land of Belgium, although the trip usually lasts a short time. It is difficult to make Godiva last for more than a day!

The short stories and poems in TALES FROM THE CACAO TREE had me smiling like a silly school girl. Every time I read the book's title, I had to reach for a mini cup to satisfy a craving. Is it possible to express your love for someone with flowing chocolate? Is the anticipation of chocolate of chocolate melting in your mouth really better than s-e-x? Can chocolate be the beginning of a beautiful friendship or cause for suspicion?  You will find answers to these questions and many more in this lovely anthology.

* * * * *
 
Other September selections include:

LETTUCE READ WILLS by Una Tiers

BREAKING MEASURES by Emma Raveling

DARK DAWN A Lei Crime Series Novella for Kindle World
by Fiona Manning






Wednesday, September 7, 2016

#IWSG How Do You Find Time To Write?



The Insecure Writer’s Support Group 
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
 
Founder Alex J. Cavanaugh's awesome co-hosts for the September 7 posting of the IWSG are C. Lee McKenzie, Rachel Pattison, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata!
 

 
 

September 7 Question: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?
 
My daily schedule revolves around writing. My writers' group meets at a local library, The Makiki Community Library, which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this month. For the two days of celebration, I am arranging for our group to hold hourly discussions on topics of writing, plus hold two fundraising events. I recently critiqued a mystery novel manuscript and am in the process of reading a memoir for the same purpose. I am also spearheading plans for our next anthology.
 
In answer to the September 7 Question, I take a lot of short breaks during the day for meals, laundry, grocery shopping, and other necessities. But the majority of my hours from 6am to midnight are spent on reading and writing projects. Right now my focus is the anthology short story and two flash-fiction length stories for another anthology. When I am not actually writing the stories, I am researching or thinking about the next step, editing, and rewriting.   

I am not always sitting in front of the computer typing out words. Sometimes my writing is done longhand in a notebook. Other days, the words swim around my subconscious until a thought forms. At one time, I sold real estate for five years. The main thing as a realtor was to "always be selling." As an author, the main thing is to "always be writing."

Do you only think about writing while sitting with your hands on the keyboard, or is your mind on writing 24/7?


Sunday, September 4, 2016

THE SUPERNATURAL and BEYOND WORDS Poems #42-43

42
The Supernatural 

Speaking in tongues
Searching for inspiration
Hands grasping,
Minds laid bare 

Enlightenment nearing fingertips
Yet always just beyond reach
The brass ring,
Unattainable 

The elusive transformation
From human to divine,
Is unfathomable, far
Beyond ability
 

When it becomes accepted belief that it is possible to alter God’s creation to reflect something of man’s own invention, thereby making man (woman) appear all powerful, then not only the molecules of thought are rearranged, but also the raw materials of the soul. This is not about cloning, Hitler’s regime, or IVF, but about the dangers inherent in my own inflated ego.
 
*****     *****


43

Beyond Words

 
 
There are words
I want to build on
And to use as titles
Of poems. Phrases with meaning: 
 
Rendering a Thought Visible
Or
Attempt at the Impossible
 
But my page is blank
Not barren, only empty.
As the leaves of autumn
Shrivel and blow away,
So has my inspiration.
 
Leaving behind only
Possibilities.
 
Inspired by the works of Belgian artist René Magritte and an essay by Marcel Paquet: The Enigma of Poetry.

 
 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

My #Goodreads Read and Review Challenge Week-45

Many of my goals are carved in stone. When I decided to read and review 71 books between October 2015 and October 2016, it wasn't "more of a guideline" like some pirates' codes we've heard about. If I didn't read and review 71 books, I would have to walk the plank! With that in mind, and 46 books already read and reviewed by the end of August, I compiled a list of titles that would take me over the finish line.

It's nice to have a list of suspenseful reading material planned ahead of time.
Maybe my next reading goal will actually begin with a list!


CITY OF DREAMS by Harriet Steel

The story advances a bit slowly in the beginning, with a predictable romance that takes the reader from Russia to Parisian high society during the middle 1800s. Once CITY OF DREAMS began its rollercoaster descent, however, the author's assiduous research and knowledge shine through.

Harriet Steel's historical novel unfolds at a leisurely pace, meandering through equally tragic and pleasant scenes with characters that feel authentic in their environment. The pain and sacrifices of war bleed onto the page. My impression is that the protagonist has more than a touch of Scarlett O'Hara in her, suffering and then moving along to the next shoulder to lean on.

*****     *****     *****
 
  
SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC (A Marketville Mystery Book 1) by Judy Penz Sheluk 

The opening scenes of SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC set the stage for an intriguing mystery. I was hooked, immediately wanting to learn what, when, where, why, and, eventually, whodunit. The story is set in the small community town of Marketville situated north of Toronto. The plot, featuring protagonist Callie Barnstable, unfolds around a sketchy history of a mother who left her husband and then six-year-old daughter, Callie. Decades later, with her father now deceased, Callie is tasked with learning why her mother disappeared without explanation or warning.

The cast of characters is colorful. All tackle their roles with spirit and aid in moving the plot forward at a comfortable pace. They also fulfill reader expectation to entertain, some adding a touch of humor, others frustration or suspense. The author’s descriptions of setting and action kept me reading non-stop, along with my desire to learn “who dun what” along the way.
 
*****     *****     *****



Thursday, September 1, 2016

Childhood Leukemia - September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

photo from: fineartamerica.com
After a long dreary winter, one of the first flowers to spring from the ground is the daffodil. Representative of new life, the daffodil is the American Cancer Society flower. When someone has survived the disease, sending flowers is a wonderful way to say "Congratulations!" The more colorful the better! You can read more about gifting flowers to cancer survivors at this florist's site:  http://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/flowers-for-a-cancer-survivor/ But if you have flowers in your garden or in the back field, a personal bouquet will have special meaning! 


September is Children's Cancer Awareness Month. Because I wanted to include varied names of organizations and foundations that support research and treatment of cancer, I searched the internet for a list. Most unfortunate is that the list is extremely long: unfortunate because it represents a tragic need for this support around the world.
 
Reading about the services provided, the support to family and patients, and the success in the rate of cures or remissions, tugs at the heart strings. Watching the videos brings home some of the emotional costs not included in the statistical figures. A warm note is hearing the children state with emphases: "I beat cancer."

The following sites offer important information about childhood cancer, research, treatment, experiences, and heartwarming success stories.
 
 
The Jimmy Fund
solely supports Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, raising funds for adult and pediatric cancer care and research to improve the chances of survival for cancer patients around the world.
You will find the history of the Jimmy Fund at this site:

 
American Childhood Cancer Organization
Help make a difference in the lives of the nation’s
childhood cancer patients, survivors, and their families.
You can learn how by clicking on this link:
http://www.acco.org/childhood-cancer-awareness-month/


St. Baldrick's Foundation
St. Baldrick’s Foundation exists to change the realities of Childhood Cancer
They work closely with leading pediatric oncologists to determine the most promising
research "to fund and create funding priorities to make the greatest impact . . ."
Read the sad facts of these realities and more here:  http://www.stbaldricks.org/


Hawaii Children's Cancer Foundation
Serving the Needs of Hawaii's Families Coping With Cancer
Serving to assist, support and advocate for the needs of children diagnosed with cancer, their families, and long-term survivors of childhood cancer: http://hccf.org/

(if this video link is unavailable, you can view it at http://hccf.org)
 
"I don't think it's fair that anyone has cancer." Child with cancer
"Helpless." Mother of child diagnosed with cancer
"Released from job, foreclosed on house." Parents of child with cancer
"She's on the swim team." Smiling Father of child whose cancer is in remission