Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Continuing in the Process of Permanent Change

I hope by now you have taken the time to reflect on your life.  Ask yourself some questions. Answer those questions the best that you can.  Problem solve if necessary.  Write out some plans. In addition, mark the change with a ritual of some kind.

As you par laid through the process, I hope you learned to breathe slowly and relax.  Meditation is a good habit to incorporate into one's life.  If we all learned to slow down a bit the world as a whole might be better off.

I am working through the process and most likely will continue to do so for the first part of the New Year.  I have changed my routine a bit and will continue to refine it as time goes by.

I personally would like to thank that entire visit from time to time and comment or drop me an e-mail at

I wish all a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Breathe Deeply and Allow Change: PROCESS

I hope you have come up with some things to ponder.

Did you write down your questions?  You may or may not have answers to all of them and that is okay.

Did you come up with a way to signify or demarcate an event, occasion, or circumstance?

Now, breathe deeply and allow the past to be the past.  (You can not change it.) 

Keep breathing; slowly, in and out.  Relax.  Breathe; slowly, in and out.  Relax, and allow those things to slip away.  Breathe.

Take a moment to acknowledge the day.  What are you going to do today?  What new routines can you establish that will assist you to live today in the present?  Create change.  Make a note of a new way to start your day.  Is there a better way to work?  Take your lunch or eat out?

If you start to think of the past, STOP!  



Breathe.  Relax.  

Breathe.  Refresh.  


Now begin to move.  

Rise up. Stretch. 

If you come up with goals for the future jot them down.  Don't get detailed yet.  Just make a note.

Today live in the present.  Breathe deeply.  Allow change.

Monday, December 28, 2009


As long as man has been around he has always marked occasions in some manner.  I believe acknowledgement of an event, occasion, or change is important.  Whether public or private there are ways to signify or delimitate a period in time.

I have in the past used a glass jar to put things or people (figuratively of course) in and give them over to God.  Once in the jar they are in His hands.

I have on other occasions received a note, certificate, and even a trophy for performance of tasks, job requirements or duties.

In what way can you write off the negative and accentuate the positive?

Give acknowledgement to goals accomplished or special occasions of one's life time.

Email me at and let me know what interesting things you have come up with to demark a special occasion or goal accomplished. 

Saturday, December 26, 2009


It is that time of year when people tend to reflect on the previous year and contemplate future goals.  I have known some people who have a habit of reflecting periodically throughout the year and not just at the close of a year.  Whichever type of person you are I hope that the following ideas, questions, and prompts will inspire and encourage you to reflect more often.  I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if people in positions of authority pondered or reflected more often before they acted.

Reflection can have different meanings to different people.  I will be using an educational definition.  Please consider the following:

Reflection is thinking for an extended period by linking recent experiences to earlier ones in order to promote a more complex and interrelated mental schema. Reflection normally involves looking for:
* Differences
* Interrelations beyond their superficial elements

The goal is to develop higher order thinking skills. 

Educators normally consider Dewey (1933) as the modern day originator of the concept of reflection, although he drew on the ideas of earlier educators, such as Aristotle, Plato, and Confucius. He thought of reflection as a form of problem solving that chained several ideas together by linking each idea with its predecessor in order to resolve an issue.

Things to consider:
1.  How am I doing?
2.  How are my loved ones?
3.  How are my relationships with others?
4.  What has the year been like?
5.  What are the good things I am grateful for?
6.  What has been painful to deal with?
7.  Any issues outstanding?
8. If there were something I want or need to change within myself, “What would it be?

Make your own list adding or subtracting your own questions.

HINT:  Use your Microsoft notepad and save your personal notes to your desktop.   This way you can create your own private thought journal as you parley through the process of reflecting.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

A Seasonal Prayer
May there be laughter to offset the sad times.  May there be peace to ease the chaos.  May the joyous spirit of Christ fill you to overflowing so that you may know His love.  May your Christmas be merry and your New Year happy.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Two Words: Ignorance and Want

Charles John Huffam Dickens was the most popular novelist of the Victorian Era. His novels and shorts stories contain some of the most iconic characters ever invented and are still in print, and have never been out of print to date. His stories are listed among the classics being read by both young and old.

One of his more famous stories: A Christmas Carol is a Christmas time favorite.  My favorite version of this novel is the movie with George C. Scott. I watch it every year.  For me, it is like reading 'The Book of Psalms.' You learn something new every time you read it, watch it, or listen to it. It is timeless.

Several lines throughout the novel and movie are memorable. "God Bless us everyone!" the favorite of most. My favorite is when the ghost of Christmas present rolls back the bottom quarter of his robe to reveal the "world's children" named 'ignorance' and 'want.' The word 'doom' is written on their brows. What a lesson and a revelation for Mr. Scrooge! What a lesson for us all if we would but listen.
We did not listen to Dickens then and we are not listening now.   It is the "world's children'ignorance' [(noun) the state or fact of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, learning, information, the condition of being uneducated, unaware, or uninformed to make reasoned decisions] and 'want' [(verb) something desired, demanded, or required: a person of childish, capricious wants expediency without acknowledgement of cost] who are destroying us because we refuse to acknowledge this about ourselves. Our pride in not in wanting to do without or our ignorance in acknowledging the truth, it having the one and not seeking the other.

Two words, 'ignorance' and 'want.' They spell our doom. I believe that if we continue to act out of 'ignorance' and 'want' we will self-destruct.

I hear you saying it is Christmas, "Why be so negative?" I am not a negative person at least I was not.  A personal catastrophe has ruined me. I am not the happy, fun-loving, caring, and giving person I use to be. Rough seas and no relief in sight can dim a person's vision and make it myopic. I have been desperately trying to be me again, just maybe not so naive this time around. Maybe not so trusting or accommodating for others. No benefit of the doubt!  There are evil people in the world and they do not give a damn about anyone else but their own desires, many times at the cost of others. I let others ruin my life.  I should have screamed louder so everyone knew what was happening.  A lesson learned too late for me.

What lesson or lessons will we all have to face because we refuse to learn?  What can we live without and what must we face truthfully?

We cannot afford to be so wanton and lacking a backbone.  We must acknowledge the correct actions necessary and stick to it.  Be brave and have the fortitude, the courage to lead and live a good life in reverent fear of God to whom we give account of our lives.

May the spirit of Christ radiate through you this Christmas and may you live a merry and joyous life!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

O' When the Weather Outside is Frightful...

...find a cozy spot and have a cup of tea.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Wishes 2009

peace on earth
a cure for ..............
jobs that pay a living wage
companies and people caring for the earth
more good hearted laughter
the spirit of Christmas in the general public to last more then a day
a laptop
a mini beagle
a good book
a place to breathe
new weighted ink pen
decorative pillows
tea with friends
a fishing trip to Venice, Louisiana
a place with a wood fireplace

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Enduring spirit


Friday, December 11, 2009

In Loving Memorial of Mr. Robert Mendler

Robert Mendler died Thursday evening, December 10th, 2009.  He was a survivor of the Holocaust who lived in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  He is lovingly remembered and will be sorely missed.  Please click the following link to know more of this wonderful mans life.

Carolyn Holland: ROBERT MENDLER: IN MEMORY December 11, 2009


To read more of Robert Mendler's story please link to 

In remembrance and honor of Robert Mendler's passing there will be no new posting for seven days.   

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Lights Are Up!

It is a good feeling to get the lights up and put the snowman at his post .  The 'Christmas Spirit' stirs a bit and people seem to be more cheery.

I hope this coming year is a better one for many.  May you carry the hope of this Advent Season with you into a new year.
Be of good cheer!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Advent is a time of preparing one's heart.  Seek Christ, believe, and know the joy of the LORD.  May this Advent season be a time of joy for you and all you love.
Prepare Ye the Way for the LORD!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The First Snow of the Season

I have danced in the snow, eaten a few snowflakes, and made a few snow angels!

PFARR 2009

PFARR 2009

PFARR 2009

Get outside and enjoy the magic of the first snow of the year!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Just waiting for the frosting.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am most thankful for...eternal love.

I am thankful for many people, things, and beautiful places in my life.  Most of all I am thankful to God for His offering of grace.  It is my prayer that people everywhere this holiday season would accept His offer.  It is in the acceptance of who He is, that we share eternal love.

May God's grace, His gift of eternal love, bless your gathering of family and friends.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Waiting for the Snow to Fly!

I do not know why, but I am so looking forward to the first snow of the season.  Someone told me I would change my mind by February first.  I do not care.  I am like a kid waiting for Christmas.

I love the first snow of the year!  It still holds a special kind of magic for me.  I dance in it, catch snowflakes on my tongue, and make snow angels...I wonder if I will be able to get up off the ground this year.

Truth be told, it may be one of the last things that gives me joy.  Sheer joy.  The kind of stuff one cannot buy.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
A Grand Old House

Copyright Free Photograph from Images on Yahoo

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Find A Spot


Find a spot.  
Sit a spell.  
Relax and breathe deeply.  
The last of warm fall days are coming to an end.
Winter is just around the corner.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Supernatural Consequences

Richard Agan was a long time ruler of the Innes Clan.  He was quiet, not publicly well known, but powerful within his circle of influence. Family portraits, oil paintings mostly, hung in the old castle in Morayshire, Scotland and at a camouflaged mansion tucked away in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania.

Few people locally, knew the aristocrat and his family.  He was indeed a product of the 19th century Scottish Baron, a known practitioner of witchcraft, from a line of witches.  Karen, his wife, was the daughter of James Greyburn, the Earl of Greyburn’s great grandson, another European family with supernatural abilities.  They were werewolves.

The combination of these two family lines brought a she-devil into the world, a women known for being cruel and malicious, a shape-snifter, and a werewolf.  In public she seemed polished, poised, and a good Christian.  Karen, a benefactor known for her contributions to the community and an heir of her family's’ fortune, she was a werewolf incognito.

At night, she stalked the woods hunting her prey, the unsuspecting owl or deer, pounced upon from behind, above, or crushed in a frontal attack unable to move from being startled nearly to death.  Her stealth practiced since childhood was excellent, giving her the advantage to catch unsuspecting creatures.

Lying in wait for the full moon this Sunday, October 6th, Wren had calculated the days for her revenge of the old man in the woods, who was a caretaker of the woodland creatures and others.  She had not drawn human blood in her fifty some years of living, but David had to be dealt with.  He had, on more than one occasion cost her dearly.  Intervening on behalf of the woodland animals and his fellow man, David was a champion of good.  He detested her abuse of animals and people for sport.  He knew of her cruelty and malicious heart.  David was a supernatural being as well, an angel named for the human who had loved God with all his heart.

Being human and supernatural is nothing new.  It is like the fight of good and evil.  It has been going on from the beginning of time.  Time is relative in space and not just another Einstein theory.

Time, being not limited to our human constraints, does not take away from events that curdle our blood and make our skin crawl.  Even with television and movie violence deadening our sensitivities, nothing prepares us for the fight to the death of supernatural beings.  A truly cosmic event that man is still trying to understand scientifically.

David lived a quiet life.  A maintenance man of the Sportsman’s Hunt Club he did his work with efficiency and humility.  A skilled laborer, whose knowledge and aptitude for fixing any sort of mechanical or electrical device, was worth his weight in gold.  The other maintenance men liked him as well for his willingness to go the extra mile and help with other duties besides his own assigned tasks.

Wanting to be more human than divine has its cost.  David’s angelic powers had decreased over the years as his humanity, his humanness, his flesh and bone being became more of a reality.  Outwitting Wren had become more challenging, but he had been victorious on numerous accounts and not terribly fearful of her sporting events.  Although lately, it seemed she was becoming more vicious then in years past, a bit more evil then just cruel.

Working late into the evening in the fall of the year is a pleasant experience; especially, during the full moon with the dance between light and shadow, the earthy smells, and cool air.  David had been helping with the pheasant hunt all day and was now returning to his work to prepare the lawn mower for tomorrow.  Richard’s associates from the Bilderberg Group packed up and were well on their way home to other parts of the world.

Kneeling beside the tractor in the old horse barn at the back of the property, David did not sense the coming attack, nor did he have time to think his way through a counter response.  With his last energy of angelic power he punched the silver tipped Philips-head screwdriver that he had, had in his hand into the grey werewolf’s coat, penetrating through to the heart as the old girl pounced slicing his throat.

She cried out with the horrific sound of a wounded creature caught in a trap unaware.   Wren howled in pain dashing off into the woods, the blood rushing from her body, death imminent.  David quietly slumped to the floor of the barn as a great white light enveloped his being, the full moon the only witness to this supernatural battle.

David’s body was never found, his fate unknown.  A missing person’s report was filed October 10th.  Missed by his fellow laborers, but never mourned.  He would be forgotten in time.

Late, in November, a hunter crossing the creek found the decaying worm ridden carcass of a werewolf.  He paused a moment in recognition of his daughter.  Richard, now aware of the fate of his missing daughter will write the headline and obituary of the heir for the local newspaper.

Headline read, “Wren Agan Dies in Fiery Car Wreck Cause Unknown.” The charred car was found on the embankment of the Loyalhanna Creek in Derry Township.  Her body burnt and not recognizable, dental records were used to make the identification.

The exact time of the accident unknown and the secluded location of the vehicle will leave her death a mystery.  The obituary will be in tomorrow’s edition of the Tribune Review.  

Evil does not always win.   Good does not always triumph.  Somewhere in space, a black hole has formed another void in the universe.  Death has a place in space, an entity of supernatural consequences.                   

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mini Workshop for Children’s Book Writer's

When writing children's books there are about ten questions, one needs ask oneself.  “Will my book sell?” is not the first question to ask.  The action, characters, and place are what fascinate children.     

1.  Is it a good story?  Does it have a positive flow? Is there a hero or heroine that saves the day?  Can the child see himself or herself as the hero or the heroin?

2.  Does the story strong enough to stand up to the competition in the field of children's books?  It is a tough market and one must know if their story is well written and ready for submission.

3.  Does the story make sense even if it is read slowly?  I know this may seem an odd question, but adults read slowly to young children.  Young children, beginning readers especially, read slowly.  If the story is too complicated, it may not be a good candidate.

4.  Is the story a page-turner?  Dialog should carry the action forward as opposed to stopping the action.  Children like dialog between characters and usually place themselves in the story if they can picture themselves saying what the character is saying.

5.  Is the setting of the story in a world children are familiar with?  Parks, the zoo, and magical lands of make believe are places children know about first hand.  Good use of adjectives and adverbs help readers see and be a part of the action in the story making connections.

6.  Are the events in the story something children can relate to?  Put yourself in a child's shoes.  Is it an event that a child might participate in?

7.  Are the characters appealing and original?  Shamu is already a character of a whale.  Roger the Right Whale is a new character in my next children's book.  He and his buddies are headed back to the cold waters off of Saint John's in Newfoundland after their exciting adventure south.

8.  Is the vocabulary suitable for the young beginning reader?  Read other children's books to get any idea of what is acceptable.

9.  Is there rhythm and repetition alliteration in the story?  Children like language that rolls of their tongues and so do adults that read to them.

10.  Is the story humorous?  Children love to laugh.  Give them the giggles and you will have made a friend for life.

Will my book sell?  If you can answer the questions listed above, it is a possibility that your book will sell.  Keep writing.  Keep submitting.  Look at what is working.  Look at what is not working.  Edit, review, and resubmit.  

Write me if this post has been helpful to you.  If you are published, I would like to know.  Just go to the comment section or my profile and drop me a note.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bringing the Background into the Foreground

Recently, in a writer’s magazine, I spotted an article on bringing the background into the foreground.  It spoke to enticing ones readers with details that will make them want to keep reading.  Readers by nature are curious creatures and like to get involved in a story easily.  Bringing a reader into a story by creating a background that they can identify with will help them develop empathy for a character or characters more quickly.

Creating a bond between reader and character occurs when a writer reveals interesting tidbits about the character or characters including the background up front.  I think, especially, in specific genres like science fiction and mystery that developing a background that readers can see the character in allows them to identify more quickly with the character and moves the story at a faster pace. 

Just be sure the ending is as well developed and fast paced as the beginning of the story or your readers just may remember that the next time they go pick up your book and hesitate.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Editing and Proofreading

I am bringing up the subjects of 'Editing' and 'Proofreading' now because they reference 'Mechanics', 'Punctuation', and 'Spelling,' the topics listed next in the book, The MacMillan Handbook of English.

Editing and proofreading are two different processes even though some items within the processes overlap.  When one sits down to edit one looks at the overall structure, clarity, style and citations. In proofreading one looks at the overall structure including grammar, mechanics, punctuation, and spelling.

Why is this important? As a writer you work hard to produce a piece of work that you hope will inform or entertain your audience. Moreover, for a reader there is nothing more irritating as a spelling error that occurs repeatedly throughout a piece of work and ruins it. Case in point, Rhet Butler's People, by Donald McCaig had so many common errors in grammar and spelling it was distracting to reading the book.  Great book! Nevertheless, the publisher failed to correct a couple of spelling errors that irritated everyone who read the book.  I hope someone sent the editor a 'red line' copy of the book with corrections.

Editing and proofreading are two different stages of the revision process. Both demand focus and concentration and employ different techniques within each process. But, before you begin editing or proofreading get some distance between what you have just finished writing and the next step in the revision process.  It is far too easy to skip along and miss a mistake or two because you know in your head what you have wrote, yet may have written it down incorrectly.  Let the piece of work cool for a while and it will make it easier to catch errors with a fresh eye.

When you begin to edit or proofread, you may what to change the place you normally sit at to a well light area with a solid surface to work on. You may also what to find a quiet place where you can focus. Change the look of the document.  Print it out in a different color, change the font size, and/or spacing. If it is a long piece of work break it up into short pieces for revision so your attention to detail does not wane.


When editing for content you may want to ask yourself the following questions:  Have I completed all of the requirements of the assignment? Are the claims I state accurate?  Do I have enough support for each claim?  Is all the material in my work relevant to the assignment?

Is the overall structure of my work complete?  Do I have a good introduction and conclusion?  In the body of my work, have arranged things logically? Do I have enough documented support for each claim?

Listen for clarity.  Read your piece aloud.  Does it read easily?  Be sure it does not sound like you got every word from a thesaurus.

In the style of your writing, be sure of the tone of voice given to the piece. Is the structure of your sentences varied between long and short?  Watch for repeated phasing, like "there is," "there are," and "due to the fact."


When sitting down to proofread do not rely entirely on a spell checker or a grammar checker. These tools are far from foolproof and have limited dictionaries or abilities to spot all errors.

Read slowly, and read every word aloud.  When you read silently, you tend to skip over mistakes or make unconscious corrections.

Use a ruler or blank piece of paper to aide you in looking at each sentence. Make proofreading marks as you go.  Have a proofreading reference nearby until you develop a method for finding errors and making corrections.

Editing and proofreading are vital to the process of revision. Revision is a part of the process of writing.  A part of being a very good writer includes working on the mechanics. When you continually strive for excellence the quality of you, work improves and who knows where that will lead you some day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Grammar Usage

"I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences." 
— Gertrude Stein  

Correct grammar usage is of vital importance in communicating clearly.  In this day and age of quick messaging we need to be crystal clear in what we are saying and how we use it is key.  Logical completeness, clearness and order, and the word choices we make, matter in the effectiveness of what we communicate.

I know I am among those who believe in practice makes perfect.  'Diagramming Sentence Structure' was one of my favorite activities in my high school English class. I still love the exercise to this day.  What does diagramming teach us besides sentence structure?  It teaches us analytical techniques.  Here is a quote from Investor's Business Daily, October 17, 2000 by Joseph R. Mallon Jr.:
When Joseph R. Mallon Jr. bumps up against a complex problem, he thinks back to a lesson he learned in high school from the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.
The Philadelphia-area school's Catholic nuns taught him the art of diagramming a sentence. Once all the parts of speech lined up, Mallon pulled clarity from the chaos. It is a process he uses today to tackle tough issues as chief executive and chairperson of Measurement Specialties Inc.

"I sit down quietly.  Take the issue apart into its component parts.  I make sure all the components fit together well. They have to be well chosen, fit together and make sense.  There are few (business) problems that can't be solved that way, as dire as it might seem," Mallon said. "Sentence diagramming is one of the best analytical techniques I ever learned."

Understanding how the sentence fits together makes the communication even more clearly in its meaning.  Structure aids in effectively communicating our ideas and thoughts.   Grammar is the foundation.  Mechanics, Punctuation, and Spelling are parts in the framework of effective communication.

I found these links informative and useful in my hunt for learning more about grammar, I hope you find them useful, too.

Good Daily Grammar Sites

Informative & Practice Grammar sites

Superb Grammar Checker Site

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Writing Handbook

I love old book sales.  The treasures one finds at an old book sale have unique value.  A first edition can be worth a lot of 'denary.'  A work of fiction can be a very scary find.  A non -fiction work may have useful information that can help one tackle a handyman chore about the house.

The Macmillan Handbook of English can help a writer work on grammar, mechanics, punctuation, spelling, words, logical completeness, clearness and order, effectiveness, the paragraph, and last but not least style.  I have a first edition Macmillan Handbook of English from 1939.  It was written by John M. Kierzek, a professor of English at the State College of Oregon, and published by the Macmillan Company of New York.  It a great treasure because of the way it was written.  It is both a textbook and a reference book with an index organized around seventy-seven rules for writing and a theme-correction chart.  Both teacher and student can easily find a point of reference to work from.

The author, John M. Kierzek, focuses on treating the learner as a mature person.  Encouraging the writer to be self-disciplined and diligent in understanding the rules knowing there is freedom beyond the rules.  Only after fully comprehending and then interpreting these guidelines with discretion, apply them to the discipline of his or her writing one can bloom professionally as a writer.

Reading and writing are connected disciplines.  I have a passion to learn more about both.  I am concerned as a teacher about how, what is being taught, and what is being neglected.  I have often seen students pass a short answer test but not be able to apply the knowledge of what they have allegedly learned to a real life application.

Then again, the world is all about 'texting' and 'tweeting' these days.  Short bursts of information that communicates a snapshot of things that sometimes are bigger than a snapshot. Full disclosure and depth of comprehension have become outdated.  With all the banter true comprehension of the context is being skewed.  

Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use print and written materials associated with varying contexts or streams of thought clearly.  We are losing depth in our communication.  Perception is in constant flux.  Change is instantaneous.  Change is good, but too much change, too fast is leaving us lost in the middle of chaos.  Barring are points that keep the boat sailing in a true direction.  What heading are we traveling in?

If you are like me and want to improve your writing style, you may have to work on some skills and/or templates, frames of writing.  Grammar is listed first in the book, so grammar is the first subject I will write about tomorrow.

Writing Practice

With a new month, come new goals.  This September I am focusing on writing.  There is so much out there about writing that it is hard to know what to read first.  I have been researching and I have found some excellent sites and a few other writers who are working on their ‘style of writing.'  Each writer has a 'way' or 'style' of writing that can change and grow over time.

From time to time, I will share projects, links, and writer's ideas that are helpful to me and that I hope will help you.  Even if you are not a professional writer, I am hoping it will challenge you to think about your literacy skills.  We all can work on interpersonal communications, vocabulary, as well as, professional proficiency.

Since this is a blog, I think it is best to list a few reasons why blogging is such a great tool for writing.  Here is short list of reasons writers should blog:

1.  Practice writing to become a better writer, one needs to write daily.

2.  Build a writing portfolio.  When asked to show your work over time, a blog is a good record of ones over all work.

3. Experience in publishing.  Self-publishing will give you an understanding and appreciation of being an editor.

4.  Earning money.  Companies will pay you for advertising on your blog.

5.  A workshop for writers.  Writers from all over can get together and hold a workshop.

6.  Immediate feedback from others.  Feedback is valuable and instant when blogging.

7.  Build a reading audience.  When it comes time to sell a published piece of work, you have an audience already interested in your work.

If you are a writer, I would like to connect with you.  Contact me at or

Friday, August 28, 2009


Did you ever meet a group of people who do not have good boundaries?  What is appropriate behavior?  What is not appropriate? Leadership that does not lead usually has alternative motives that are not necessarily honest or spoken aloud.

I have been associated with groups of people over the years, single groups, writers groups, and even the Red Hat Ladies Social groups.  Some groups have been great and other not so great.

Not long ago, I was new to a group of Red Hat Ladies in a predominate community that held a meeting in an exclusive hotel.  The behavior exhibited was not representative of women.  Two ladies came in mid-way dressed in outfits that nearly resembling prostitutes carrying clear plastic bags with...shall we say things unmentionables in public, openly displayed for all to view.

I was mortified!  Embarrassed!  There were families with young children everywhere.  I felt soiled just by being there.  I left as soon as possible.  I wrote the woman in charge of the chapter and the headquarters of the Red Hat Ladies Society.  I received apologies from both. 

Who apologized to the families with young children?  I felt sorry for the parents who now most likely had to explain things that they had not anticipated on explaining, especially, on a vacation.

Boundaries are important.  The society we have now has no idea of appropriate behavior.  What is even more shocking is that no one seems to care. If you bring it up the inappropriate behavior, you are most likely the one to be in danger of being the outcast.  Society is not what it use to be.

When a group does not follow appropriate behavior, I suggest finding a new group or start one of your own.  

Varying Bottles of Wine Continued...

Change is not always easy for everyone, but I manage to land on my feet like a cat most of the time.   Richard and I tied the knot the same day we graduated from Princeton University, he with a Law degree and I with an Education degree. We honeymooned our way across the United States in a U-Haul moving truck as we headed for Los Angles, California.

I remember moving here from New Jersey with a slight accent and working hard to remove it by taking voice lessons. Who knew it would lead to other things.  I started out in the church choir because my voice coach was the choir director. Then I began singing at weddings. Next thing you know, I am working for MGM studio as a ‘‘property voice.’’ Wow! One little change and an entire new world opened up before me.

The Hollywood Hills is an interesting place to live. It is where my husband and I lived when we first moved to California. Back then it was the back lot of LA. Now it is simple known as 'The Hills' and resembles nothing of the barren place it once was in the fifties. If you find a cute bungalow, you have found a treasure and fine piece of real-estate.

When the skyscrapers started to block the view we moved to the beach. We lived at the beach for a year, but even the beach started to become crowded. We decided to move to Napa, by some property and settle into country life.

The drive from ‘‘The Hills’’ to Napa at first is not bad. It just becomes longer and longer as time goes by. At first it is an adventure, then a challenge. Now we have a condo in the ‘‘Commons’’ we use during the week and a house in Napa for long weekend getaways. We aren't as young as we use to be, but we have managed to work things out advantageously.

This is a copyrighted piece of fiction. No part(s) of this story or its characters are to be copied or used without the author's permission. E-mail the author of this Blog for more information or comments.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Writing Prompts

Writers have routines to aid them in the process of writing.  Using a daily writing prompt is a terrific tool to practice with.  Here is a website you can link to that has a large variety of prompts to choose from

Try it out and have some fun.  If you come up with a good story, email it to me.  I would like to read it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Varying Bottles of Wine

Between the jagged flashes of bright lightening and the reverberating thunder it was hard to wait out the severest thunderstorm of late summer. Then the power went out! When the pounding rain finally stopped everyone headed outside hoping for a cool breeze. It was a sweltering week of weather and now after the storm with the power out, the whole neighborhood gathered in Dora's front lawn to chat.  Dora is the social coordinator of West Lawn Subdivision, at least she thinks so, and I would agree. We know each other pretty well considering the times in which we live, when no one can name half the people living in their neighborhood. Dora has managed to corral us in to having an annual garage sale, Christmas cookie swap, and donations for various organizations throughout the year.

Standing in Dora's front yard chatting, we were surprised that Dora herself was not present. Surely, she is as miserable as the rest of us. Then suddenly Dora's small side garage door flies open and she dashes over to us and seems to be in quite a tizzy about the power outage. Being the organized person that she is, she had bought the hors d' oeuvres for the room parents 'meet and greet' at school, which is two weeks from today.

While chatting away Dora suggests that we all retire to her back patio and help her empty the freezer of the defrosting hors d' oeuvres. She has a beautiful backyard with fruit trees and a summer garden overlooking the Napa Valley with a professional chef's outdoor kitchen. The old world rattan wicker furniture layered with pillows, the long sheer curtains hanging about, along with the candle lanterns, gathers us into a warm inviting intimate group.

Opening several bottles of various wines, we set up a buffet and sit around the open hearth. Relaxing in the gentle breeze, our conversation begins. Most of us have moved here following our husbands careers. We are well educated and have some outstanding resumes yet, we have tucked away our goals and ambitions as we raised our families. Now, sitting here, privately secluded we share our dreams and aspirations that we haven't shared with anyone in a long time.

The storm has cleared and the sunset is spectacular! The afterglows of this spontaneous moment have begun to open up new avenues in each of our lives. Dora seems quiet as we each say good night.

Our lives have changed suddenly.

This is a copyrighted piece of fiction. No part(s) of this story or its characters are to be copied or used without the author's permission. E-mail the author of this Blog for more information or comments.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Writer's Block

Did you ever have writer's block?  It is a phenomenon that occurs to those who dare to put thought to print, text to screen, and pen to paper.

I have experienced this phenomenon.

It began not long after 911 and got worse and more tortuous in the last three years.  I have no flow.  No stream of consciousness. Then, last week I received an invitation to write a piece of fiction for a local writer's group.  It was in the genre of the supernatural, which I knew little about.  The supernatural is not a familiar topic to me.  Nevertheless, I started to mull over some information and did a little research. I used some names of familiar places to localize the story.  It is for Halloween after all.  Surely, I can come up with something!

Well, today I had a breakthrough. The story bubbled up from down deep. The words just poured out for about two hours.  It was sheer delight!  I could barely contain my joy. I had to write a few family members and friends before I burst with glee.

After a final review, I maybe a little deflated.  It is a new genre for me after all and I may have to work on it a little more. All writers hone their craft.  However, today, today I wrote without hesitation and with total abandon. There is nothing like being in the creative flow.  For all the writers and creative people who have ever been 'stuck' or 'blocked' may you burst through the damn and ride the flow.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Beauty: A Rose Is A Rose


Gazing at flowers and smelling the roses is good for the soul. 

 Remember the rose cream in a tiny pink jar that your grandmother lovingly rubbed on your tiny hands. The scent lingering after she had gone. 

 Beauty is not only in the eyes of the beholder, but in the lingering scent of a loving grandmother.

A rose is a rose that smells as sweet.

Journaling Grief

Journaling grief is a process of writing out facts, thoughts, and emotions of traumatic events that can be helpful in relieving some of the stress and problems caused by sudden unexpected events of pain and/or loss. Whether losing a loved one, losing a career, having something valuable stolen (sometimes more valuable sentimentally then a cash value); loss can leave one reeling in an emotional wake for a long time, a personal tsunami.

Unreleased grief can be like a poison that affects other relationships. One can be stuck in the process of grieving. Sometimes one bounces around in-between feelings of denial and sadness, anger and depression and other emotions associated with the loss or traumatic event. Family and friends may not be able to help, especially if they have unfinished business in their own life experience. Grief affects our relationships because grief affects us profoundly, to the depth of who we are as a human being.

Research from several universities shows that journaling lowers stress and diminishes symptoms. Writing about what has happened can help one process through the pain instead of numbing out. Working through the grief process by journaling promotes well being, boosts immune systems, lowers blood pressure and decreases heart rate.

There is no 'correct' way to journal. Some people make lists, others write out their story, or write letters. At first, one might not be able to write more than a word or a sentence, which is okay. If you feel overwhelmed by your feelings and out of control as you write, take a break and set your journal aside. You can always pick it up again.  If your emotions are overwhelming you, talk with a bereavement counselor about other avenues or combinations of therapies.

My encouragement to you is that you are not alone in grieving. We all grieve at some point in our lives. We all grieve differently. We all need a compassionate, empathetic family member, friend, or counselor as we work through the process of grieving.

Writing is one tool that is helping me. I hope it will help you.

Be of good courage.  
Write it out.  
Seek help.  

You are not alone in your grief.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


"If you're going through hell, keep going."

--- Sir Winston Churchill

Thursday, July 30, 2009


in·spir·er noun
1.  a person who infuses life
2.  one who influences
3.  draws forth or brings out
4.  a person who breathes

Take a moment. Focus on the photo below. Breathe in slowly, now exhale even slower. Do this several times feeling your body relax with each breath and exhale.

Feeling the calm, carry it with you now as you move on in your day.