Saturday is for Sharing – Shelley Alongi

Post #128 – September 15, 2018

Saturday is

for Sharing

Series of Guest Authors – #11

Miss Opal & Lynda

Welcome YOU to

Saturday is for Sharing 

_____

Shelley Alongi 

Photo:  TheAuthor holds  a collection

of 3 published books

 

  

Shelley,  I know you are a cat lover so Miss Opal and I are really delighted to speak with you today about your book publications and your life as an author.

You nearly always talk about your cats in phone conversations and interviews.  We like that!

It is  a hot day here in Western Pennsylvania but the cats, Miss Opal and her sister-cat ,Miss Bessie, are enjoying the air conditioning. The 2 dogs are napping in their beds.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through the National Federation of the Blind Writer’s Division over the past several years.  NFB was one of the first contacts I had with writers who have sight loss and I was happy to find the organization at that time. I remain a member, and look forward to the publications you produce. I’m always happy to submit work to this magazine.

Our readers should know that you are the editor of

Slate & Style, a literary magazine.

It is published throughout the year by the Writer’s Division.

I’d also like to let our readers know that they can enter their writings to the magazine. They do not have to be disabled or blind to send in their work.

Q_ I have a question for you, since you are so busy with the magazine and your own writing…what do you do to relax?  When it is 5 O’Clock “somewhere, what will you be doing?   

Shelley_ Laughing!   I might be at home in the recliner with a cat on my lap – or a book  – or both.

I might have a documentary film from Netflix or my TV app playing in the background and I might be asleep.

I might be at the church practicing the organ. I play for 2 churches!

Or I might be playing my piano.

In my literary life, I could be working on a draft of one of my novels. My latest novel is Forgiving Sky,  due for release in 2018.

I am currently working on the draft before I submit it to my hand-picked editing team.

In addition to this, I  am also working on a book of poetry called Christ Crush.

I may be working on that one. If I’m not doing any of those things I might be entertaining company, or cooking hamburgers, spaghetti, or some other wonderful concoction.

Sometimes I never know where I’ll be.

My only requirement is wherever I am it’s cool, and I mean below seventy degrees. 

Q_ What could you never live without? What would happen if this would go away?

Shelley_  In 2003 I went to Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi to help the city rebuild after Katrina.

We helped to plant a Calvary Chapel there and our job specifically was to cook for the people who were rebuilding their own houses. Some of the people went to help those who were cleaning up their property after the August 27 damage.  Over lunch, one of the men who was rebuilding his house asked that question. They asked what we couldn’t live without and I thought about that between lunch and dinner. When I told them that I couldn’t live without friends some of the team members were surprised. One of the gentlemen there who was rebuilding his house said he thought I might say I couldn’t live without a toilet or a toothbrush. But, all through history our bodies have made due with what we have or don’t have. We can always find ways to meet basic needs.

One of our basic needs is friendship as human beings. I don’t need many friends, but a few good friends go a long way toward helping me live my life in a satisfactory way. What would happen if friends went away? Well, I think what might happen is that I might curl up and shrivel away like leaves and plants on a very hot day.

Q_ You are person who is so curious about so many aspects of life, Shelley.  What would you like to know more about?

Shelley_  You asked, “What would I like to know more about?   EVERYTHIING!

I am am  information junky.

Reading and watching documentary films feeds my need for information. I also read widely: I  try to catch podcasts.

Because I am blind, I wonder if my brain doesn’t have that kind of input if a desire is created by the parts of the brain that requires stimulus. I don’t limit myself to knowing about certain things because the way my brain works I sometimes become passionate about something,  and then move on to other things.

This is the wonderful part of being a writer. Sometimes,  I might have a conversation with someone, or read a book that piques my interest on another subject. I will go find a book on the subject that fascinates me. For instance, I might get interested in some local subject, then I design a story around it and I can ask people about their jobs. I usually will say this is for helping me with my book.

I’ve recently settled in a small Texas town where the economy is bolstered by an air force base. People I know here have either retired from the Air Force, work for it, or live on base. We all know someone here who either lives on the base or works for the Air Force. It is interesting that the novel I am working on right now, Forgiving Sky, has an aircraft mechanic as the main character. I started this novel before I moved here, but it wasn’t till I moved here and had more time to devote to the book  that I met people who I could ask  about their job as an aircraft mechanic.

The same thing happened to me with train engineers. My first novel Trespasser is about a railroad engineer. I had ocasion to be interested in trains and so I was able to talk to railroad workers and some of them helped me with scenes in my first novel. Sometimes I’ll pick up a book on a subject I know nothing about just to peak my curiosity. I never know what I might be interested in next.

 Q_ When is the last time you had FIRE  in your eyes?  What happened to light your fire?

Shelley_ When I first moved to Texas I had not yet made connections and so I spent my first 4th of July at home. At that time I decided I would go online and find a recording of

Handel’s Messiah.

  • I was a music major in college and was familiar with the piece but had never really listened to it. The recording I found was stunning.

I spent three hours listening.  The one choral piece that got me really tuned into was

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the World.

This recording was done on a large scale and the sheer power of the vocals grabbed my attention. The whole experience made me investigate Jesus Christ’s claims again, things I had already come to terms with in my younger years. This music really grabbed my attention and I spent the next six months just rereading the Bible and deciding to read as many fictional accounts of the life of Jesus as I could. Some of the fictional accounts were very good. Some of them were ok. I know this helped me write my third book  – Angel Hug  – which surrounds Jesus prayer in Gethsemane. I still have the fire in my eyes three years after arriving here. I remember those months and their impact on me. I think that night really set the course for my time in Texas.

Comment from Lynda:

I can fully relate to this experience. I had such a personal  encounter with Jesus when I was 30 years old,  after reading Dietrich Bonhoffer.  Just one line, staying in my thoughts. I was changed from that time forward. Thank you for sharing this, Shelley. It brought me back to my own life-history. 

Q_ What do you have your eye on for the future?

Shelley_ Currrently,  my future includes releasing my fourth book, Forgiving Sky in 2018. If not 2018 then in January 2019.

I’m working on the final draft at this time. I always have a plan for my future and sometimes what happens is better than what I plan. I’d like to buy a house. I’d like to go to Germany. I am taking advantage of the time given me right now to finish reading books that I’ve always wanted to read and to work on several more ideas for novels. I spent many years at a job that gave me lots of experience but which for me was not fulfilling. Writing books is fulfilling. So, I’d like to finish the ones I’ve started and see where we go from here. I figure that as soon as I finish enough of them I can take them anywhere and offer them for sale. They’re for sale now, but I mean that I can offer them and perhaps move out of state or get busy again. I am blessed with lots of writing time now. My future is to work on my music and also finish writing the novels, something I’ve known I would do for many years. Now is the time.

Q_ What,  in your mind, is your most notable achievement or accomplishment to date?   

Shelley_  I look at my life and compare it to others I know and I say I haven’t done enough.

Yet,  when I sit down and look at mine, 

I say ___wow ___I’ve done some amazing things.

I’m not sure which is my most notable.

______I’ve founded an aviation club at California State University, Fullerton.

I received a call from someone who came across it when he was looking for places to advertise his helicopter sight seeing tours. We met for lunch and talked about his company. This call was received ten years after I started the club. But hey I’m in the records!

_____I’ve written four books_____

Trespasser – about a railroad engineer’s search for happiness,

Brave Pilot – about a man who must avert a looming tragedy between two families.

Angel Hug – inspired by Christ’s agony in Gethsemane.

Christ Crush –  my first book of poetry.

And my forthcoming publication:  Forgiving Sky.

Soon I will be able to hold five books in my hand. I am my own publishing company, it seems. I have a music degree and that took a lot of work. I’ve been to Mississippi to help after Katrina.

I’ve been in the pilot’s seat of a small airplane.

I’ve talked to the prosecuting attorney for Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. That was a big one for me because I wanted to interview him for an oral history project. He did not grant the interview, but I got to talk to him.

I just recently uploaded a video to Youtube. I know that is a regular occurrence for some. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and was able to upload it by using VoiceOver on my Apple iPhone.

I’ve been to Washington DC twice, once as a high school senior and once to speak with our local representative about the National Defense Authorization Act.

I’ve moved across country twice. That’s a pretty regular occurrence for people who live here. I’ve had a pretty full life and I’m sure it’s not over.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my life and work with you. I

F you would like more information or to be kept up-to-date on new releases, contact me at:

Shelley J. Alongi

Queenofbells@outlook.com

The names of my books are

  1. Trespasser, released in 2015.
  2. Brave Pilot, released in 2017.
  3. Angel Hug, released 2018.

The first three published books can be purchased in electronic or paperback format.

Trespasser is also available in hard cover. Here are the links where you can purchase the  books.

Trespasser, paperback,  released 2015

http://www.lulu.com/shop/shelley-alongi/trespasser/paperback/product-22657384.html

Trespasser, hard cover, released 2015

http://www.lulu.com/shop/shelley-alongi/trespasser/hardcover/product-22410531.html

Brave Pilot paperback, 2017

https://www.amazon.com/Brave-Pilot-Shelley-J-Alongi/dp/1974398730/ref=sr_1_12? s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517024969&sr=1-12&keywords=Brave+Pilot

Angel Hug, paperback 2018

https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Hug-Shelley-J-Alongi/dp/1985243156/ref=sr_1_3? s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1522514916&sr=1-3&keywords=Angel+Hug

For electronic copies of these books you can visit

Brave Pilot

https://www.books2read.com/u/47kBPE

Angel Hug

https://www.books2read.com/u/31MooW

Trespasser

https://www.books2read.com/u/bWKLkW

You can also see my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.shelley.alongi

________

Dear Readers of SCAN,

Your support of our Featured Guest Authors is  appreciated.

Here’s how YOU can spread the HAPPINESS:

Please  share this article with your friends on Social Media and by Re-Blogging

OR – you can copy and paste the entire blog articler into your own FB page or blog.

You can purchase our featured book: Gift Giving Season is closing in on us already!

Thanks again for your support of the Authors who are featured on Saturday is for Sharing.

________________

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright: September, 2018. All rights reserved.

Saturday is for Sharing

is a weekly series coordinated by Lynda and Miss Opal, her feline writing partner.  Lynda and Miss Opal live in rural western Pennsylvania in The Village of Wurtemburg.

Lynda is the author of 4 books:

Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage Buy it!

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems Buy it!

Lynda has just completed her 3rd book

Star Signs: New & Selected Poems – not yet published.

AND… her FIRST CHAPBOOK

first snow, 16 Poems with a Wintry Theme – Not yet published.

Both new books  are now available for publication. 

Currently Lynda is working on her next book, a Memoir.

Thank you for visiting with us today.

Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert

Your COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, and SUGGESTIONS are always welcome.

PLEASE SHARE by Re-Blogging this article on Social Media  I only require that you copy/past the entire blog post including our Copyright and blog information.

If you are a published AUTHOR or an actively exhibiting ARTIST – Miss Opal and Lynda  want YOUR STORY for our “Saturday is for Sharing” blog features. We spotlight one outstanding author or artist a week.

Right now, we are scheduling into the month of November.

E-mail us today: riverwoman@zoominternet.net

Saturday is for Sharing – LKHunsaker

Post #125 – September 8, 2018

Saturday is for Sharing

Series of Guest Authors – #10

Miss Opal & Lynda

Welcome YOU to

Saturday is for Sharing 

_____

LK Hunsaker 

 

Western Pennsylvania Author

 

 

  

Hi LK.

Miss Opal is seated in the window this morning and I can hear a hawk calling as the new day begins.

We  both think it is a treat to feature a Guest Author who is so passionate about MUSIC and want to know more about how  your writing projects what you love.

I am a retired professor of fine arts and humanities, and so much of my own writing is inspired by MUSIC.

Your stories are  of great interest to me and I know they  will be to our readers, too.

Q_ I’d like to start by asking you to give our readers an overview of your writing career and  books you have authored.

LK_  I began writing seriously in 1996. During this time, my husband was active Army and away much of the time, or working very long days, and we had two young children I was raising mainly on my own away from home in a place I detested. So, for the sake of sanity, I picked up my pencil and my long ago habit of writing stories, poetry, and plays, and rewrote a scene that I’d written and lost years before as a young teen. The story has been in my head since then and was inspired by an actual band of the times, meaning mid-1970s. (No, I don’t worry about showing my age. Trust me, it shows.) I started writing in scenes, on paper with pencil, filling binders by putting the scenes in order as I finished them. I wrote until tendonitis set into my wrist and spread into my whole arm up my shoulder, and then I began writing with my left hand until the right healed. The computer has sped things up quite a lot and is far better on my hands!

 

At this time, I have 18 books plus a novella

in a multi-author anthology

out under two writing names:

LK Hunsaker

and

Ella M. Kaye

My LK books run from romantic to literary to historical to art journals and a children’s book.

 

My EMK books are all contemporary romance with psychological elements all centered around the arts, in three series related by setting and art medium (Dancers & Lighthouses, Artists & Cottages, Songwriters & Cities).

 

That scene I wrote in 1996… It’s part of my epic musical saga serial entitled Rehearsal. It will run from 1974 through the mid-Eighties and is a series of 6 books approximately 700 pages each. There will also be a sequel that’s in progress and a prequel that’s in planning stages. Four books have been released, but they are in the midst of an upgrade all under my own publishing company, Elucidate Publishing. A scene from the first book of the series will follow at the end of the interview.

 

 

Q_  Do you have a favorite piece of music or a song that brings back good  memories?  

LK_ I’m music obsessed, and I have been for as long as I can remember. All of my novels include music, along with the whole epic musical saga. Naming one favorite song is rather impossible, so I’ll mention one foremost in my mind at the moment.

 

Two months ago, one of the founders of that band I mentioned, the one that inspired so many hours of writing a novel series so very close to my heart, died of illness brought on while traveling. It was a big blow and a huge mortality reminder that felt like a punch in the gut. His favorite song from his own band was “Don’t Let The Music Die” and so, that song right now brings back wonderful memories of my teen days, of my book-of-heart inspiration, and of every moment Alan Longmuir and his band the Bay City Rollers swept this young teenager away from real life and brought so much joy and upbeat vibes when they were most needed. It also brings the reminder that individual life is finite and we must use our time productively and joyfully, with any luck, leaving a nice legacy to others along the way.

Don’t let the music die…Listen to it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWJj7SZOuKc

 

Q_ Describe a phone call that surprised you recently. What was it?  

LK_ First, I should say I rarely answer the phone since it’s almost entirely spam and I can’t be bothered with that. I do not like talking on the phone. So when my husband, who doesn’t mind the phone as much, answered and came to tell me it was a radio station about the book festival, I stared at him for several seconds before taking the call.

Four years ago, I started up a little local book festival to help local authors, mainly indies, get the word out into the community about their work. It has grown to the point I have authors from out of state contacting me about attending and we’ve had over 50,000 hits to our website. Still, I did not expect a radio station to call. They were asking about advertising. My first thought: Hey! They’ve heard of us! That’s pretty cool! And then… yes, but my budget is very small. Still, it’s radio.

 

So, this year, the West PA Book Festival, located nearly on the border of west central Pennsylvania (did you know PA is the only state where we literally call our state “P.A.” rather than the actual name?) got airtime on two Cumulus radio stations. WestPABookFestival.com will give you more info about the event. We’re also on Facebook. 😉

Photo of the set-up at the

Western Pa Book Festival.

 

 

Q_ Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What makes you think you belong to that group of people?

LK_I am not only an introvert, but I’m also constantly fighting social anxiety disorder. I love to be home, alone, with either the quiet of nature, windows wide open to hear my birds chirping and trees rustling, or with my music that I play loud and sing along with if no one’s around. I won’t even sing in front of my family, although I used to be in chorus all the way through to college choir, plus church choir.

Even too much social media time is exhausting. A minor online debate will literally make me shake from nerves. Talking to people in person: my first thought is always “Um, no.” So yes, book signings have been tough. They’re also necessary, so for years, I’ve gritted my teeth and gone out there, anyway. The upside to this is that my SAD is lightening up with practice, as I realize I won’t actually have a heart attack and fall right through the floor (or dirt, since I try to stick with outdoor events that are easier than enclosed places events). That said, yes, I still decided to organize and run a book festival. Okay, I may be a little bit nuts. Actually, I’m a lot driven, so although I’d love to just hide away either inside my house or puttering in my garden (I have only one neighbor close enough to somewhat see me when I’m in my yard around the trees between our properties), I know there’s the work to be done of … gasp … marketing! … so out I go. Sometimes. Not nearly as much as I should.

Q_This might be a good spot to share a BOOK WORM with our readers? I think many of us can relate.

Q_ _Do you have a favorite kind of bird or animal? Is it a “totem” animal, to you? When did you first sense or become aware that it was a special creature in your life?

LK_ I love the Cardinal because it was so special to my grandma. I also love the goldfinch because of its bright yellow cheerfulness, and the blue jay because of its beauty and its testy personality. I love labradors and we have a full lab and a mixed lab/border collie. They’re so friendly, so sweet, so good with kids, and very trustworthy.

However, the creature I feel the most connected with is the hummingbird. They’re tiny little things that just go about their business not looking for attention, friendly as far as buzzing around my head if I’m beside their feeder without worrying much about me (they do startle me, since they sound like very large bees!), beautiful with their vivid colors, and they’re always so very busy. You have to look quick to catch them taking a drink (please do not add red food coloring to their nectar) before they’re off on their mission. There are more than 300 species of hummingbirds, all unique in their alikeness.

I’m not sure when I first started taking notice of them. It’s been a lot of years. I particularly love Anna’s Hummingbird with its bright pinkish-purple head and bright green body, but they’re all beautiful and absolutely charming. And yes, I relate to their constant busyness.

~~~

Comment from  LK_ So, there you have it. . Obviously, I do tend to be verbose in writing. Thank you so much, Lynda, for having me here.

I’ll be around for several days answering questions and comments. You can also find me at the following places:

LKHunsaker.com and www.facebook.com/author.lkhunsaker

EllaMKaye.com and www.facebook.com/ellamkaye

My blog: http://lkhunsaker.blogspot.com

~~~

As promised, the excerpt from Rehearsal: A Different Drummer by LK Hunsaker

 

Babe? He hadn’t called her that before. “As Kate told Mike, you better be careful about those promises.”

“Are you goin’ t’ hold me to it?”

Searching his eyes, she kept herself from asking him if it would work if she tried. She couldn’t believe that in such a short time, she would honestly be able to make him stay only because she asked. “I would never want you to do anything against your will, not even for me.” She took his hand and continued down their path.

They didn’t bother to talk and the silence was nice with his fingers entwined in hers, his bare feet making tracks next to hers. They walked far enough their friends’ voices faded out, and farther yet to where the smooth sand ran into large boulders and they had to walk up into the coarser sand to go up around them.

He stopped when the dock came into view. Staring at it.

“Duncan?”

“Is this wha’ y’ wanted me t’ see?” His eyes remained ahead. They were as cool as his manner.

“Yes.”

“Why?”

Susie was puzzled. It was only a dock. There was nothing else there, other than the large boulders making a cove that protected the dock on each side. “Because it’s one of my favorite places. We used to come down here before they closed off the road above. It’s pretty much always deserted now, and I like it even better this way. It’s so quiet.” He didn’t answer. “Was it too far to walk just for this?”

“Your favorite place.”

“One of them. It reminds me of Dad’s cabin, but a lot closer. I love coming here. I just thought it would be nice to share it…” His face had clouded, his breathing forced. “What’s wrong? Why are you upset?” Her stomach turned. She had done something wrong, though she couldn’t imagine what. All she wanted was to share this with him, to be alone, here, surrounded by the peace. And after their kiss, what he’d said about walking anywhere… “We can go back.” When he didn’t answer, she released his hand and started away. Away from the dock. Away from whatever she had done wrong.

He grasped her arm. “Suse, donae go.”

“What did I do?”

“You didnae do anything.” Her silence brought him closer, and his head lowered until it nearly touched hers. “Y’ did no’ do anything. I am sorry. It is … old memories. Some I had tried t’ forget.”

Memories? She thought back, searching her mind for what he already told her. Had she missed something she shouldn’t have? But he hadn’t said much. Almost nothing. Except he had grown up by the water. She remembered that.

He touched her face again, then took her hand and turned toward the dock. “Come.”

 

©2006 LK Hunsaker

Elucidate Publishing:  https://www.alignable.com/mercer-pa/elucidate-publishing

_________

Dear Readers of SCAN,

Your support of our Featured Guest Authors is  appreciated.

Here’s how YOU can spread the HAPPINESS:

Please  share this article with your friends on Social Media and by Re-Blogging

OR – you can copy and paste the entire blog articler into your own FB page or blog.

You can purchase our featured book: Gift Giving Season is closing in on us already!

Thanks again for your support of the Authors who are featured on Saturday is for Sharing.

________________

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright: September, 2018. All rights reserved.

Saturday is for Sharing

is a weekly series coordinated by Lynda and Miss Opal, her feline writing partner.  Lynda and Miss Opal live in rural western Pennsylvania in The Village of Wurtemburg.

Lynda is the author of 4 books:

Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage Buy it!

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems Buy it!

Lynda has just completed her 3rd book

Star Signs: New & Selected Poems – not yet published.

AND… her FIRST CHAPBOOK

first snow, 16 Poems with a Wintry Theme – Not yet published.

Both new books  are now available for publication. Editors, please contact Lynda for the manuscript.

 

Thank you for visiting with us today.

Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert

Your COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, and SUGGESTIONS are always welcome.

PLEASE SHARE by Re-Blogging this article on Social Media  I only require that you copy/past the entire blog post including our Copyright and blog information.

 

PLEASE share LK’s story and buy a copy of one of her books!

 

If you are a published AUTHOR or an actively exhibiting ARTIST – Miss Opal and Lynda  want YOUR STORY for our “Saturday is for Sharing” blog features. We spotlight one outstanding author or artist a week.

Right now, we are scheduling into the month of November.

E-mail us today: riverwoman@zoominternet.net

 

Saturday is for Sharing

is brought to you by

Pennsylvania Author, Lynda McKinney Lambert and her feline writing partner, Miss Opal.

SCAN is owned by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

View Publications Page for updates on my stories and poems.

Walking by Inner Vision.

Lynda’s Author ‘s Page

Saturday is for Sharing is Lynda’s property. You have permission to SHARE this blog post with your FRIENDS on FaceBook.

Copyright: September 8,, 2018. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.

Please share with your Friends on FaceBook and SHARE to your blog. Please Re-Blog this article and spread the HAPPINESS.

I only ask that you re-post the entire article with the copyright information attached.

Leave Miss  Opal and Lynda some comments and let us know what you liked about this feature story today.

 

SHARE Good Thoughts

and Happiness

EVERY day!

 

riverwoman@zoominternet.net

September 8, 2018

https://llambert363.blog/

Saturday is for Sharing – David L. Faucheux

Post #118

Saturday is for Sharing

Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile

by David L. Faucheux

 

Miss Opal & Lynda

Welcome YOU to

Saturday is for Sharing 

_____

Meet David L. Faucheux

Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile

 

 

  

Lynda_ I’ve been hearing so many good reports on your first book, Betweeen Two Novembers.  I am so pleased to present your book and hear your thoughts today on SCAN. Thank you for coming to our little SCAN office here in Western Pennsylvania. You’ve come a long way to visit with us today.

Miss Opal_ Our readers will know so much more about you and your life-long love of books and reading. I have a few questions for you this morning, just to get the conversation started. I always worry I won’t remember what I wanted to say, so I will begin first with my question for you.

 

Miss opal_ I am going to ask my favorite question!

What could you never live without? And, why? What wold happen if this would go away?   That is something that I always worry about myself, David. I hate to lose things!

David_ Books and libraries. Let me tell you why and how I actually wanted to make my love of books and libraries my job. Part of this essay is taken from an article I wrote in 2001, at a time before Bookshare had taken off, before Kindle and eBooks, before Audible and BARD.

“What is a library?” Depends on whom you ask, right? For me, this question immediately conjures up that hot summer many years ago. My guide dog, Nader, and I had just entered library school at the Louisiana State University School of Library and Information Science in Baton Rouge. I had been emailing the dean for months, endeavoring to discuss the many concerns I had. Yes, I knew I was throwing the faculty and other LSU officials a proverbial curve ball. I was sitting in the auditorium, wondering what I was doing there, overdressed in a silk tie and linen blazer, and listening to the dean talk about professionalism and what that meant, with Nader was blissfully half-dozing at my feet, tail occasionally twitching.

LYNDA_I am a former professor, so I am getting the picture here that you are creating.  I can’t help but ask you to talk a little more about your academic challenges.  I am thinking about how a blind man would be so interested in pursuing the disciplines that you were thinking about. How did that work for you?

David_  I know, it  may seem almost ironic to some that a blind person would even be interested in a profession that upon first consideration might seem to be so dependent on sight. For as long as I can remember, my interest in reading has been counterbalanced by the scarcity of braille and recorded materials. As a result of eagerly awaiting the next book in the mail during school breaks, having my aunt look up words in her encyclopedia during long weekend visits, later having the 145-volume 1959 edition Braille World Book literally at my fingertips during junior high study hall, and developing various strategies to obtain materials in high school and college, I have become increasingly concerned with the availability of print materials to the blind library patron.

Miss Opal_ But what do you get from a library?

David_ For me, that question is complicated by my rapid vision loss. I remember as a child during the endless summers of swimming lessons and crafts classes also going to the public library with my mother and brothers. They looked at shelves of books, adult novels for her, and books my mother thought we would like. She often read to us before bed. I remember wondering if breakfasting on green eggs and ham would be half as repulsive as the Dr. Seuss character Sam-I-Am insisted and if buying a feline as sagacious as The Cat in the Hat would be possible. I remember liking the stereopticon slides that lived in a box that reposed on top of one of the low bookcases in the children’s room below a window. I even listened to the long-playing recordings of what I later learned were Newbery books. I just thought they were funny-smelling records with a silhouette of a profile and a gold medallion. They were never long enough. I was always running out of books to hear.

Miss Opal_ But isn’t a library more?”

David_  Yes, it is. After I lost my remaining vision, I turned more and more to a different kind of library: a postal library. That’s right, a postal library. Let me explain. The Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is a network of cooperating regional libraries that serves those who meet the qualifications. I would receive mysterious black cardboard–later blue plastic–containers full of slow-playing records. My talking book machine was my magic carpet to such fantastic realms as Oz, the center of the earth, the moon, Venus, the Italy of Romeo and Juliet, and the mitochondria of a cell. I endured the exquisite suspense of Madeline L’Engle, laughed at The Jack Tales and some Scott Corbett books, and was scared to death by several John Bellairs books. I had a hard and fast rule: Talking books were for home, and braille books were for school. I rarely wavered from this rule. And then 4-track, slow-speed cassettes made their appearance. I enjoyed the portability, ease of storage, and knowing that each pale green box held hours of listening and even a kind of para-social-friendship. I learned to speed-listen. I used the variable speed control switch to gradually increase the speed of the machine. This made reading books such as Jennings’s Aztec, Clavell’s Noble House, or Michener’s Texas faster by 50 percent. I do also remember the torture of waiting for the library in Baton Rouge to send a replacement for a cassette that had the impertinence to break before I had finished it.

And I’m glad that because of so many online and physical resources today, I never have to wonder what I’d do if books and libraries disappeared!

 

Lynda_ Your thoughts on what a library is are so interesting TO US, dAVID.

iT MADE ME THINK more about What would you like to know more about? 

David_  I  have always been subtly aware of scents and fragrances. Certain perfumes take me back. One day in 1996 when a student came into my braille class, I instantly thought of my sixth grade teacher. The student’s perfume was Wind Song, by Prince Matchabelli. This floral perfume was launched in 1953 and has top notes of coriander, orange leaf, mandarin orange, tarragon, neroli, bergamot, and lemon. Middle notes include cloves, carnation, orris root, jasmin, ylang-ylang, rose, and Brazilian rosewood. The base notes that anchor this fragrance are sandalwood, amber, musk, benzoin, vetiver, and cedar. The ingredients seem so exotic and sing of foreign climes,  mystery, and romance.

 

lYNDA_ Tell us about how you began to write your book.  Please give us a sample page  that would sum up what the book is about and give us insight into your themes.

David_ My book was written to take you into my world. I wanted my voice to be heard. Seems today, everyone is being heard somewhere: on a reality TV show or on Twitter, Facebook, or other online venues. I wanted to add my voice to the growing field of memoirs by blind authors. In any event, I put the fears of writing and disclosing aside and jumped in. Here is how I explain it in the introduction to Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile, which I am now attempting to have produced as an audio abridgement, as well as in print and e-book formats, with a slightly different title.

I have long wanted to write and publish something, be it an historic novel, a young adult novel, or nonfiction. When, in November 2013, Dr. Katherine Schneider asked me to read and review her just–published Occupying Aging, I conquered my usual reservations: Would I be a good reviewer? Would I be able to write something interesting and help her book sales? I dove in and came up with this review, which appeared on http://www.goodreads.com:

This book, with its mixture of the quotidian and sublime, stands as an interesting glimpse into the life of one early 21st–century woman. Schneider, a retired psychologist, recounts a year of thoughts and events in this journal. Her ruminations on death, spirituality, dogs, and navigating the landscape of the sighted as a totally blind inhabitant of her Wisconsin college town are enlightening. Touches of humor involving Fran, her Seeing Eye® dog, add a sense of fun.

As someone who is acquainted with Dr. Schneider (we have exchanged emails), I could wish I occupied my forties quite as well as she does her sixties. The proactive attempts to educate about disability issues, the volunteering, and the public speaking are outstanding. Maybe some of her enthusiasm for life will rub off on all her readers.—An excellent vade mecum, a handbook, for handling the uncertainties of retirement.

While reading her book and formulating my review, I thought, Oh! I just might be able to write something in this journal–type format. So I jumped in right then, not waiting to begin on the more traditional January 1. I thought that to wait was to postpone indefinitely and fail; to start could mean a chance at a successful resolution. Who says a journal has to run from January 1 to December 31 to be of interest?

Miss Opal_ So, everyone, here goes nothing!  I just have to ask you, David, about something else that is on my mind. I hope that is ok with you.  Tell me, what is your idea of the perfect job? What would you be doing if it were your job? What do you think is the best job ever? Wold this be Plan A for your life?

David_ I would like to collaborate on a multi-media project documenting a group of students pursuing the MFA in Gastronomy offered by Boston University. What a book that would make! It would be along the lines of Snapshots from Hell, released in the early 1990s, about the author’s quest to obtain a Stanford MBA, or that book One L , by Scott Turow, that describes his first year of Harvard Law School. The project could be built around several students and their experiences with course work, internships, and even early employment.

Lynda_ If you could write or commission any kind of book, what would it be? Have you given that any thought now that this first book is finished?

David_  I have several ideas and will briefly discuss each below. They range from fictional biography to historic fiction and end with a short story collection.

* Empress Eugénie of France: She was just as interesting as Empress Elizabeth of Hapsburg or Queen Victoria, two of her contemporaries. But I find no writer today who has done anything with her, either fictionalized or straight biography. If French writers have covered her, I have not located the translations. She lived at a particularly interesting time and reigned over the carnival that was the empire of Napoleon III. It all came tumbling down in 1871, and she later lost her son in a hunting accident in South Africa. She lived until 1920. Surely, if Marie Antoinette rates high enough, Empress Eugénie should.

Eugénie lived during a time of convulsive change. Three empires toppled during her lifetime. The new nations of Germany and Italy were born.

* Inca: Gary Jennings wrote Aztec. (Actually, there were several follow-up novels to his Aztec, but it was Aztec that was outstanding; the others were possibly written at the suggestion of an editor to cash in on Aztec’s success). I always hoped Jennings would live long enough to write about the Inca, to do for that South American people what Aztec did for Mexico.

* A short story collection about my days at a residential school for the blind: I could possibly do this with some guidance. This type of school is rapidly fading from memory. Most blind students today are mainstreamed into public schools. In the 1970s, this was not always the case.

 

Lynda_  They SAY “TIME FLIES WHEN YOU ARE HAING FUN,  i SEE OUR TIME IS JUST ABOUT OVER AND YOU NEED TO LEAVE US.   we HAVE ENJOYED YOUR VISIT TODAY AND WE WILL BE WATCHIG TO SEE WHAT NEW PROJECT YOU HAVE COMING OUT IN THE FUTURE. H FOR COMING TO SEE US.

Additional information on David can be found on Joan Myles blog:

Read David Faucheux interview here!

David L. Faucheux

Author of Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile

Scopist65@gmail.com

http://www.dldbooks.com/davidfaucheux/

BUY  the book –  Click on the link above.

_______________________

Dear Readers of SCAN,

Your support of our Featured Guest Authors is  appreciated.

 

Here’s how YOU can spread the HAPPINESS:

Please  share this article with your friends on Social Media and by Re-Blogging.

You can purchase this book: Between Two Novembers, DLD Books, 2017.

It would be a fantastic gift for giving over the holidays – just ahead!

 Thanks again for your support of the Authors who are featured on Saturday is for Sharing.

________________

Saturday is for Sharing

is brought to you by

Pennsylvania author, Lynda McKinney Lambert and her feline writing partner, Miss Opal.

SCAN is owned by Lynda McKinney Lambert. & Miss Opal, her feline writing assistant,.

 

Walking by Inner Vision.

Lynda’s Author ‘s Page

Saturday is for Sharing is Lynda’s property. You have permission to SHARE this blog post with your FRIENDS on FaceBook.

Copyright: August 11, and December 9,  2018. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.

Please share with your Friends on FaceBook and SHARE to your blog. Please Re-Blog this article and spread the HAPPINESS.

Leave Miss  Opal and Lynda some comments and let us know what you liked about this feature story today.

 

SHARE The HAPPINESS

We Love You for That!

 

Saturday is for Sharing – Alice Jane-Marie Massa

28 July 2018

Post #112

 

SCAN

Hosted by

Lynda McKinney Lambert & Miss Opal

If you are NEW to SCAN,

Continue reading

Saturday is for Sharing – Jessica Goody

Welcome

Saturday is for Sharing

  Jessica Goody, Author

 July 21, 2018

SCAN is hosted by

Miss Opal & Lynda McKinney Lambert.

If you are NEW to SCAN, we recommend: Just SCAN it!

Guest Author

18_Scan_Saturday_3_Goody_Author Portrait (002)

Jessica Goody

Poet

Contact Jessica at PinnipedPerson@aol.com

Jessica’s first collection of  poetry is

Defense Mechanisms 

a full-length, 115-page  volume

75 poems divided into a 3 sections:

Part 1 – “Being Handicapped”

Part 2 – “Green Sentinels”

Part 3 – “Other Voices”

 

PinnipedPerson@aol.com

Q: Jessica, tell us about how you began to write your first  book.  Please elect one page you have written that sums it all up for our readers. Tell us about that page you selected. 

A: Storytelling influences every aspect of my life. I’m not sure why I gravitated to poetry instead of another type of literature, but I have always loved language and playing with words. When I was eight years old, I told my grandfather that I would dedicate my first book to him–and I kept my promise.

The poems in Defense Mechanisms were written over a nine month period; it took another four years of effort before the book was finally accepted by a publisher in 2016. My second poetry collection, Phoenix, will be released by ‘WordTech Publications’ CW Books in March 2019.

 

 

The opening poem of Defense Mechanisms, “The Mermaid,” is by far the most personal; I call it an allegorical autobiography.

 

The Mermaid

 

The mermaid wears a mask. Tubes drift from

her nostrils, linking her to an oxygen machine.

She relies asthmatically on artificial air, fluid

 

dripping wetly into her nasal passages. The air

she breathes is blue and cool; she cannot adjust

to the smog ashore. They have performed every

 

test, gluing wires to her chest, her tail, her skull.

They have EKG’d her cold-blooded heartbeat, MRI’d

and scanned, her silhouette glowing with radiation.

 

Surgeons in white deftly wield gleaming scalpels.

They have stitched her gills shut, and scraped the

barnacles from her shoulder blades. Round, puckered

 

scars remain, in the spot where earlier that morning,

an angel had her wings removed. You have to stare

to see the scars hidden beneath her Technicolor hair,

 

the ones from when they drained her brain, swollen

with seawater. They will fade eventually, to the color

of a crab carapace, abandoned and bleached by the sun.

 

The orthopedist traces her bone scan with his finger

as he talks: her knees are twisted, kissing instead

of facing forward. Her joints push and tug toward

 

one another in a scissors gait. Removed from the

succoring ocean, her skin is dull and roughened,

her sloughing scales losing their gleam. They plan

 

to surgically remove her tail and outfit her with

prosthetic legs, carving away her aqueous identity.

Out of water, she cannot walk, cannot stand.

 

Dragging along the dun-colored corridor, she

is floppy, uncoordinated, her tail hanging limply

from the wheelchair seat. Draped in the shapeless

 

hospital gown, her previously tangled hair now

shorn, she cannot make them understand that

her body was not made for life on land. They fill

 

her with electricity, with distilled stars. The names

of the pills are elaborate, like the Latin names of

seashells: Thorazine, Lithium, Stelazine, Sertraline.

 

She feels heavy, leaden, like she is floating. It

is not a kind sensation. She is unwilling to be

swept out to their psychopharmalogical sea.

 

She wants to go home. “You do not come from

the sea,” the psychiatrists say. They attempt

to hypnotize the truth out of her, to smear it

 

from her mind, the way the sea smooths away

words scratched into damp sand. “Delusional,”

they say. “Psychotic features represented by

 

hallucinations. She believes she is a mermaid,

a mythological creature.” According to their

files, the manila folders of endless prescriptions

 

and transcripts of talk-therapy sessions, she

does not exist. According to them, she is an

impossibility, a figment. But she must be real,

 

they have seen her, touched her. How long

will they keep her here? She is drifting like

the seasons. Away from the sea, she cannot

 

hear its call, only gaze at the topaz eye of the

changeling moon from her glassless window,

straining towards the ebb and flow of the tide.

 

_____________________

Q: What discourages you most in your writing endeavors? What do you find inspiring about your writing?

 

A: I think the hardest part is getting people interested in what you have to say. Success is about perseverance; stubborn bulldog persistence despite thousands of let-downs, rejections, and wounds to your pride. If you are truly meant to be a writer, or any kind of artist, that is the first thing you must learn. There are plenty of clever, talented people out there who don’t have what it takes, not because their work isn’t good enough, or because they don’t work at it, but because they can’t take the rejection, so they give up. It is never easy, but it is worth it.

 

When someone appreciates my work because they relate to it, having shared the same experiences, it creates a kinship between reader and writer. I believe that well-chosen words are the greatest agents of change; they provide hope to the suffering and clarity to the misguided. Defense Mechanisms provides both, offering its readers glimpses of meaningful lives and exploring what it means to be fully human.

_____________________

Q: Do you have a handicap of some sort? How does that handicap affect your life and what you do? How can you overcome that handicap? What do you want another person to know about this handicap and about you as a writer?

 

A: I have cerebral palsy, and the public perception of disability and the many aspects of living with a handicap are topics I frequently explore in my work. Anyone who struggles with mental health issues or physical challenges will be able to relate to my experiences, because the theme of Defense Mechanisms is Hope–the triumph over pain and trauma and the resilience of the human spirit.

 

I am very used to talking about my issues, and therefore very open about them in my writing. What some people consider depressing, I consider honest, and these topics should not be avoided because of their intensity. My goal is to provide a thought-provoking and inspirational experience for every interested reader, and to help them better understand what it’s like to live with disabilities.

_____________________

Q: Do you have a favorite art museum or gallery that you enjoy visiting? Or, any special exhibition you have attended that was remarkable? What art movement throughout history do you like the best and why?

 

A: I am endlessly fascinated by art, history, and the natural world, and all three deeply influence my writing. I am always inspired by the lives and exploits of artists, like the Beats, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Bloomsbury Group. I love museums, but I don’t have a particular favorite. Since I tend to think in images, a lot of my poetry is inspired by artwork.

 

In Defense Mechanisms, “Stockings” was inspired by the photographer Dorothea Lange’s 1934 portrait “Mended Stockings”. Another ekphrastic poem, “Transcendence”, was inspired by Walker Evans’ WPA photography. My forthcoming collection Phoenix features numerous odes to artists of every stripe–writers, actors, painters and musicians.

_____________________

Q: Do you have a favorite animal? What do you like about it? How is it a totem to you? When did you become aware of that special creature in your life?

A: When I was little and learning to crawl, my grandmother remarked that my movements resembled a baby seal. It’s a story–and a symbol–that has followed me all my life. My favorite stuffed animal was a seal named Seabert, who became my best friend and good-luck charm in a childhood spent among doctors, hospitals, and therapists.

I have always been drawn to the ocean. For most of my life I intended to become a marine biologist, and although my physical limitations prevented me from realizing that dream, I am an environmentalist, and much of my poetry is inspired by nature–especially the sea.

Jessica’s Final Comment

Terrific questions! Very thought-provoking.

 

Jessica, I want to share another powerful poem from your book.

This is one of my personal  favorites in the collection.  I can only say to our readers,

“PLEASE BUY JESSICA’S BOOK.” I promise, you will love it!

 ____________________

December Rain

 

Through the rain-streaked windows

the Christmas lights are a gleaming

blur. The colors stretch and streak,

lighting the sodden trees with their

 

festive glow. They resemble flashing

tropical fish swimming in the blind

eye of the windowpane. The water-

darkened trees resemble me, tilted,

 

twisted, bent, their fallen leaves

stretching like frightened animals.

A row of lightning scars the sky,

flashing like neon and fading in an

 

instant, a metallic crow’s caw in the

blackness of the storm-darkened sky.

____________________

Jessica Goody’s Contacts on Social Media

E-mail: PinnipedPerson@aol.com

Book Title: Defense Mechanisms: Poems on Life, Loss, and Love

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessica.goody.58

Award-winning author of Defense Mechanisms

Available now on Amazon:  www.JessicaGoody.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Seabert1521

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jessicagoody58/

mazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Defense-Mechanisms-Jessica-Goody/dp/0985147776/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1481762643&sr=8-5&keywords=jessica+goody

Phosphene Publishing: http://www.phosphenepublishing.com/goody-jessica

____________________

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright July 21, 2018. All rights reserved.

Saturday is for Sharing, a series of Guest Authors & Artists

Presented by Lynda and Miss Opal, her feline writing partner.  Lynda and Miss Opal live in rural western Pennsylvania in The Village of Wurtemburg. Miss Opal has a sister-cat named Miss Bessie. The two were rescued from Southern Ohio along with their mother, Miss Effie Pearl, and their 2 brothers, Diamond and Peachy Keen.

 

Lynda is married to Bob Lambert and the couple have 5 grown children.  These days, Bob & Lynda share their home with 2 rescued dogs;  Miss Mitchell and Miss Dixie Tulip. In addition to the 2 cats, they also care for any number of feral cats who may drop by for food & shelter eacy day. Lynda is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities, and she is a fiber artist and author.  she holds 3 degrees:  BFA and MFA in painting;  MA in English. Lynda is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. She writes and makes art in her River Road Studio. Lynda lost her sight in 2007 due to Ischemic Optic Neuropathy.

Lynda is the author of 2 published books:

Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage Buy it!

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems Buy it!

 

Lynda just completed her 3rd book

Star Signs: New & Selected Poems – 60 poems

AND her FIRST CHAPBOOK

first snow, 16 Poems with a Wintry Theme.

Both new books  are now available for publication. Editors, please contact Lynda for the manuscript.

 

~Thank you for visiting with us today~

Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

Contact:  Lynda & Miss Opal at: riverwoman@zoominternet.net

Your COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, and SUGGESTIONS are always welcome.

PLEASE SHARE by Re-Blogging this article on Social Media.

Saturday is for Sharing – Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author

 

July 14, 2018

SCAN is hosted by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

If you are NEW to SCAN, I recommend:Just SCAN it!

 

Guest Author

Abbie Johnson Taylor

Author of  4 Published Books

 

18_SCAN_Sharing_AbbieTaylorPortrait

Abbie, It is wonderful to have you here today as our Guest Author.

I first met you on an internet  writers group, Behind Our eyes. At that time  you were serving as the group’s president.   You were, and still are, are really the “Energizer Bunny” of this international group of writers., You are a role model and inspiration  to many of us who are writers with sight loss or blindness. You model for us all what we can do if we stay focused and keep on going on the writer’s path.

Miss Opal and I are glad to have this opportunity to share your life and your books with our readers today. 

Abbie’s Story

 

Q_What do you think about your name? Do you use your own name for your writing?  

My full name is Abigail Louise Taylor.

My middle name was that of my paternal grandmother, but I’m not sure how my parents came up with my first name. Taylor is my married, or should I say widowed, name. Johnson is my maiden name. I like the sound of Abbie Johnson Taylor, so that’s why I publish material under that name.

 

Q_Who would you like to see walk in the door right now?  

 I would like to see my late husband Bill

walk through the white door to my office

right now. Although he has no vision, he would know exactly where I’m sitting. He would saunter up to me and start massaging my shoulders, as I’m sitting here in my chair, typing away. Then, I would stop, turn around, stand up, and we would embrace. Of course Bill hasn’t walked since January of 2006 when he suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side. Now, he’s in a better place, so I know he’ll never walk through my door again, but I can dream, can’t I?

 

Q_Tell us about the books you authored. What is your most recent book?

I’ve written 5 books.

My latest published work is a memoir about how I met, married, and cared for Bill after he suffered two strokes that paralyzed his left side. Here’s the synopsis. You can learn more and find ordering links at http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com/memoir.htm

 In September of 2005, Abbie Johnson married Bill Taylor.

She was in her mid-forties, and he was nineteen years older. Three months later, Bill suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side and confined him to a wheelchair. Abbie Johnson Taylor, once a registered music therapist, uses prose and poetry to tell the story of how she met and married her husband, then cared for him for six years despite her visual impairment. At first, there was a glimmer of hope that Bill would walk again, but when therapists gave up on him seven months after his second stroke, Taylor resigned herself to being a permanent family caregiver.

She discusses learning to dress him and transfer him from one place to another, sitting up with him at night when he couldn’t urinate or move his bowels, and dealing with doctors and bureaucrats to obtain necessary equipment and services. There were happy times like when she played the piano or guitar and sang his favorite songs, or when they went out to eat or to a concert. She also explains how she purchased a wheelchair accessible van and found people to drive it so they wouldn’t always depend on the local para-transit service’s limited hours. In the end, she describes the painful decision she and Bill made to move him to a nursing home when he became too weak for her to care for him in September of 2012. He seemed to give up on life and passed away a month later.

 

Q_Do you have a favorite dance partner?  

 My father was my favorite dance partner.

When I was a teen-ager, he taught me to waltz. My family often went to establishments where there was live music, either old standards or country and western. If there was a dance floor, you can be sure Dad and I were on it. My father passed away in 2013. When I met Bill, he could no longer dance because he had some infused limbs. Now that he and Dad are both gone, I still go to dances, but I sit on the sidelines, watch others, listen to the music, and remember.

 

Q_Do you have a favorite song that brings back good memories?  

 My favorite song is “I Want to Spend

My Lifetime Loving You”

from the movie, the Mask of Zorro. When Bill proposed to me in January of 2005, he was living in Fowler, Colorado, and I was living here in Sheridan, Wyoming. We’d been carrying on a long-distance relationship for two years. For Valentine’s Day, he sent a care package which included, besides the obligatory chocolates and other items, a cassette tape of love songs he’d downloaded from the Internet. This song was one of them. I found it amazing that a man wanted to spend his lifetime loving me, and I finally got to the point where I wanted to spend the rest of my life loving him. Here’s a link to the song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo4AWDELNiY

 

Abbie Johnson Taylor

SCAN_AbbieTaylorBook_MyIdealPartnerCreatespaceCover (002)

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Abbietaylor945@gmail.com

Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/ybmouz5y

Website: http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

Abbie, Miss Opal and I agree that your  story

is encouraging and inspiring to our fellow authors and to the readers. It was fun learning so much more about you! 

We know our readers will be inspired and encouraged by your journey and we thank you for being m first guest here at SCAN on “Saturday is for Sharing.”

 Abbie’s final Comment – a Poem for you!

 

THE RISE AND FALL OF MY ZORRO

With cape, hat, mask, rapier,

he rode out of the darkness.

“Take my hand. Dance with me,” he said,

“I want to spend my lifetime loving you,”

but happily–ever–after was not to be.

My hero fell and rose many times.

I felt the glory

until he fell for the last time.

Where there’s love, life begins again.

When life dies, love goes on.

__________

More about Abbie:

Abbietaylor945@gmail.com

Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/ybmouz5y

Website: http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

_____________________

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright July 7, 2018. All rights reserved.

Saturday is for Sharing

is a weekly series coordinated by Lynda and Miss Opal, her feline writing partner.  Lynda and Miss Opal live in rural western Pennsylvania in The Village of Wurtemburg. 

Lynda is the author of 4 books:

Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage Buy it!

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems Buy it!

Lynda has just completed her 3rd book

Star Signs: New & Selected Poems

AND… her FIRST CHAPBOOK

first snow, 16 Poems with a Wintry Theme.

Both new books  are now available for publication. Editors, please contact Lynda for the manuscript.

 

Thank you for visiting with us today.

Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

 

Contact Miss Opal and Lynda at:  riverwoman@zoominternet.net

Your COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, and SUGGESTIONS are always welcome.

PLEASE SHARE by Re-Blogging this article on Social Media.  

PLEASE share Abbie’s story and buy a copy of one of Abbie’s books!

 

If you are a published AUTHOR or an actively exhibiting ARTIST – Miss Opal and Lynda  want YOUR STORY for our “Saturday is for Sharing” blog features. We spotlight one outstanding author or artist a week.

Right now, we are scheduling into the month of September.

E-mail us today: riverwoman@zoominternet.net

 

 

Saturday is for Sharing – Musings on Saturday Morning

 

Saturday is for Sharing

 Saturday Musings ~

on the LAST DAY OF JUNE, 2018

Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

 

An essay by Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

Walk dogs – Check!

Morning Coffee – Check!

Open window for Miss Opal – Check!

Read E-mail – Check!

 

Miss Opal is my feline writing companion.

She is seated on top of my file cabinet, watching intently out the open window as she does each morning.  Like all cats, she is intrigued by the bird sounds and life passing by on this rural western Pennsylvania road. We begin our days before dawn. We rise with the crows and the red-tailed hawks that soar over the landscape outside our window. 

 

Next Saturday, I will present my first Guest Author on “Saturday is for Sharing.”

That is exciting because I have some stellar authors lined up for this new adventure.  You will love meeting my guests!

 

I am so interested in the responses to the questions I ask my guests.

Reading them and working on the articles caused me to do some musing on my own thoughts about what I do as a visual  artist and a writer/author. I work across disciplines in everything I do.

 

First, I considered my own challenge –

I am a blind person.

 

Unlike some other artists and writers who are challenged with a handicap or disability, I have never written much about the sudden sight loss that I experienced eleven years ago.

 

I was at the height of a wonderful career and my personal life was fantastic the year I turned sixty-four.

 

I worked out at the gym 6-7 days a week. My body was so healthy and I felt so good in my skin. Hi energy! Excited about life! Living my passions! High Achiever!

 

Other pleasures-

  • My teaching schedule at Geneva College (Beaver Falls, PA)). It was a career that I loved. My courses included lecturing and teaching in the Humanities, Fine Art Studio classes, and special courses in English literature.

  • My studies and teaching extended to include a month-long course I taught while living in Europe every summer. I wrote and drew in my sketchbook every day as I traveled.

  • My first book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage developed from my sketchbook jottings and drawings. Life was a grand adventure.

  • In my artist’s life, I was having exhibitions all over the world and had done so since 1976. Literature and art are my passions.  I was so blessed to be living my dream.

 

In a day, that all ended.  While I say it ended, what really happened is that it all changed dramatically when I lost my vision due to Ischemic Optic Neuropathy.  How does a person pick up the pieces and move on, when it seems that you have lost everything you have in your life?  The answer is one that comes slowly – over time. The answer unravels, day by day, year after year.  It has now been eleven years since my own personal disaster stopped me cold.

 

When I thought I was finished

and my life was over – 

I was mistaken!

 

I’ve moved on in my art making to new places where I might never have gone without the sight loss. However, I realize now that my mind was going into uncharted territory before the sight loss.

 

In my writing life, I have written about sight loss by creating some essays about individual works of art that I created after I began to recover. I had intense rehabilitation training – but it took a few years for me to be able to do art work again.

 

I realized that I do not want to be represented by blindness. It was not my choice and I will never embrace it. I will never “get over it.”

I seldom say that I am blind because I don’t want to be viewed through that lens.

But there! I have spoken about what I think of this disability.

I am blind.

  • Yet, I write books.
  • Yet, I make fine art.
  • Yet, I walk by INNER VISION, not SIGHT
  • Yet,  my art is in international exhibitions.
  • Yet, I win awards for my art and writing.
  • Yet, my  life is active and wholesome.

Yet, I have a voice and I will use that voice to speak through literature and art.

All’s well.

Though I walk in cloudy mists and shadow…

 

Yet, I walk!

 

 

Today, as I read the comments that one of my physically challenged guests wrote to me, I began to think more about my own visual challenges.

 

I know some visitors to my blog will read this story and will be inspired and encouraged, to face their own life situations no matter what they are.  I want you to know we all give a voice to what we all deal with every day.

 

Some of us offer hope & insight with our words.

Some of us speak to the world through our works of art.

Some of us write extensively and create works of art also.

However, we choose to do it, we put a voice to our thoughts in our creative works.

 

If you were to scratch down through the surface of me, you will find that  I am an artist at the core, and my writing evolves from art – and art-related ideas. My writing is created as I would create a work of art – in many layers.  These days, in my writing studio, I am layering words and images as I paint the pictures that come through in poetry and non-fiction essays.

 

You are not a disability.

You are not a handicap.

You are courage personified.

The world needs to hear what you have to say.

 

____________________

“Saturday is for Sharing is created by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Copyright June 30, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

PLEASE pass this message along to you friends today.

Please comment at the end of this message. Please re-blog.

Thank you for visiting with me today. Happy Final Saturday of June, 2018.

All;s Well!

Visit me:  www.lyndalambert.com

 

Read more stories by Lynda Lambert at:

http://www.llambert363.blog

 

Author:

Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage: Poems, Kota Press, 2003

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, DLD Books, 2017

first snow : Chapbook. Manuscript completed and ready to send to editors for publication.

Star Signs: New & Selected Poems.  Manuscript completed and ready to send to editors for publication.

Editors: contact me for information & viewing.

My Author’s Page:  http://www.dldbooks.com/lyndalambert

 

 

Finding Home: Advice to a New Expat

Meet my Guest Blogger for November:

Carrie Delecourt

November 1, 2016

 

Finding Home: Advice to a New Expat

Every man has two countries, his own and France.  (Thomas Jefferson)

America is my country and Paris is my hometown.  (Gertrude Stein)

When good Americans die, they go to Paris.  (Oscar Wilde)

 

Expat in Paris. The words conjure up an image of Ernest Hemingway sitting in a smoky café on the boulevard du Montparnasse, scribbling in a well-worn notebook while rain beats steadily upon the sidewalk. Or maybe the words bring to mind the Lost Generation — Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot, John Steinbeck, Henry Miller, and all the other novelists and poets who came to Paris after the First World War to find themselves. And then there’s me.

My story is fairly typical. I grew up in the suburbs of Orange County, California, home to endless beaches, palm trees, and Disneyland. Full-time sun and eternally blue skies, frequent heat waves, vast freeways, shorts, flip-flops, and surfers in wetsuits. So you can imagine how exotic Paris seemed when I spent my junior year studying at the Université de Paris Sorbonne. Oh, the thrill! The adventure! Winter coats and gloves and wool scarves! Real French people!

The grass was definitely greener in Paris. Every day was sparkling and fresh, and I discovered something new and exciting around every corner. Lectures were held in the ancient Amphithéâtre Richelieu at the Sorbonne, and grammar classes met in classrooms with old-fashioned wooden desks with inkwells. I sat in cafés in the Latin Quarter with fellow students of different nationalities and discussed worldly matters over doll-size cups of strong, thick coffee. I visited friends in their tiny chambres de bonne — maids’ rooms — on the top floor of buildings without elevators. I went to the theater and to concerts and saw intellectual French films in art-house cinemas. It was all so different from California.

Paris was a feast of glorious sensations: the mouth-watering odor of baking croissants wafting out of a boulangerie and the salty smell of seafood laid out on ice in front of a restaurant; the taste of farm-fresh butter and apricot jam spread on half a baguette, the warmth of a warm patch of sun on a frosty day; the melodic ringing of church bells on the hour; the buzz of scooters dodging cars like matadors; and the cacophony of car horns, sounding like Gershwin. I wanted to soak it all up and bottle it, like an essence that would fade with time.

The year went by in a blur, and suddenly it was time to pack my bags and head home to California. So it was with a heavy heart that I returned to my former life. But as soon as I got back I discovered that California had not changed, but I had. I was the same person, and yet I was not. Something was wrong, something was missing. I felt out of place, and I was filled with a sense of longing. And I knew why.

Paris kept whispering my name, and every heartbeat urged me to go back. I felt I had no choice. Six months after I graduated I emptied my savings account and bought a one-way ticket to Paris. With my whole life crammed into two overstuffed suitcases, I pulled up my roots and left my family and friends for the land of over a thousand different types of cheese, where I joined the approximately 100,000 Americans who call France their home. I was going to pick up where I had left off during my year abroad. I was determined to Frenchify myself and embrace the French way of life. A new chapter — a whole new book — in my life was about to begin. I was on the road to becoming a witty and cultivated citizen of the world.

At first I was star-struck, then reality struck me like a brick on the head. Once the honeymoon was over, once the novelty and excitement of living and working in Paris had worn off, I realized that, unlike the carefree student life I had led, expat life was a challenge. It wasn’t always la vie en rose, and my rose-colored glasses slipped right off my nose.

The romanticized Paris you see in the movies or read about in books or on someone’s Facebook page, that picture-perfect city you visited during your European holiday, does not paint the whole picture. Despite what you might imagine, living in Paris is not always glamorous or fun. Unlike tourists who spend a week in Paris, or a student who stays for a semester or two, when you pack up all your worldly belongings and move to a foreign country you have to adapt to a whole new way of thinking. You are rebuilding your life from scratch, and it’s not always easy to come to terms with being a foreigner. As an expat you are expected to understand all the unspoken rules, those tricky “do’s and don’ts” of another culture. You don’t spend the afternoon people-watching and discussing existentialism in a sidewalk café, or strolling along the banks of the Seine while accordion music plays in the background. In the real world there are errands to run, and you can’t just pop into a big U.S.-style store and pick up everything on your list. There are sheets to wash and hang up to dry, toothpaste to buy, the utility company to wait for, long lines to stand in. Life goes on, just like back home, only in Paris everything is more complicated.

Life just seems harder here, and the frustrations of everyday living can be an exercise in patience. Nothing is simple or straightforward, and many things are downright mind-boggling. Everything is time-consuming, and the smallest of errands seems to take forever. So you learn to be patient, especially when it comes to the seemingly insurmountable administrative red tape you find yourself battling. Sometimes it feels like you are being asked to leap through a flaming hoop. Your wallet swells with five, six, seven oversize photo identity cards. Official papers needing your immediate attention pile up alarmingly on your desk. The woman behind the counter sends you away because you are missing a vital paper that was not on the list of documents needed. The only way to get through it, I’ve learned, is to do like the French: give a good Gallic shrug and tell yourself: c’est la vie. French people know this, hence the shrugging.

There are times when you miss the convenience of America. Everything in Paris is so much smaller — apartments, refrigerators, washing machines, soft drinks and coffee cups — and a lot more expensive. Shops close early and on Sundays, and many are shuttered up during lunch, so you have to plan ahead. There are frequent strikes — transit workers, Air France, the post office, sanitation workers, radio stations, administrations — and there are pot-banging and megaphone-blasting protest marches through the streets, turning whole neighborhoods into gridlock. Truckers and taxi drivers and farmers with livestock block the freeways. Streets are chaos; there are no stop signs, only yield signs and traffic signals at intersections. Pedestrians and drivers fight for the right-of-way, and cars, motorcycles and scooters are parked helter-skelter on the sidewalks and in crosswalks. Everyone smokes. You find yourself longing for tumble dryers, public drinking fountains, customer service, ice cubes, window screens and air conditioning. But these are little things, minor inconveniences. Annoyances. And when you think about it, do they really matter?

I don’t think they do. Paris may not be perfect, but it is a great city, perhaps the greatest city in the world. Paris is a mixture of ancient and modern, a vibrant and unique place that continually delights and surprises. Paris is the Ville Lumière, the city of enlightenment, rich in history and culture, renown for its breathtaking beauty, its statues, museums, monuments, and parks. Paris is the world capital of fashion and chic, and even French dogs have a certain je ne sais quoi when they trot down the sidewalk in their winter trench coats with their heads held high.

Paris is a morning walk through the mist in the Jardin des Tuileries, a hot chocolate with whipped cream on a cold winter’s day, a Vivaldi concert in a centuries-old church, or a moment sitting on a bench in a hidden square listening to the birds enjoying themselves. These are times when Paris really does belong to you.

There is a certain art de vivre here. Even though they can be as harried as other big-city dwellers, Parisians know how to pause and enjoy the little pleasures of life, things that really matter, like friends, family and good food. Sit-down meals are still the norm. They can last several hours, especially on Sundays, when the whole family gathers around the table. Food is savored and commented upon, wineglasses are held up to the light, and wine is sipped slowly, with pleasure. Cooking is taken seriously, and most people do their shopping daily. Neighborhood markets teem with fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables arranged in perfect pyramids like works of art. There is fresh butter, milk, cream, and flats of brown eggs straight from the farm. At the fromagerie there are dozens of different types of artisanal cheese to choose from. Some are pungent, some are delicate, some come in individual wooden boxes, while others are cut like slices of pie from enormous wheels. Legs of ham and strings of sausages hang from beams above the charcutier’s stall. And where else in the world can you walk to the boulangerie around the corner and buy a warm, just-cooked baguette or a pain au chocolat?

Southern California weather is predictably sunny, so the changing seasons in Paris are a delight. Summer brings warm thundershowers and daylight until almost 11 p.m. The city sleeps through August, when Parisians flee to the countryside; Paris slows down and you can stroll along the sidewalks and navigate narrow store aisles without getting jostled. In autumn the days are crisp and dry leaves crunch underfoot as you cut across the park. Street-sweepers gather up fallen leaves with fluorescent-green plastic brooms, and the city smells of roasting chestnuts and sweet crêpes. But nothing compares to the joyous feeling of the first rays of the springtime sun after a long, bleak winter. Parisians sit outside on café terraces, loosen their scarves, and turn their faces up to the sun like flowers. Birds serenade the early morning light, forsythias explode into bloom, and tulips and daffodils poke their heads out of the earth. Your mood lifts instantly and you are glad to be alive and living in Paris.

For me, Paris is not just a home away from home. I have put out roots and built a life here. I have my own family here. But I often feel tugged in both directions, split in two, with one foot in France and the other in the U.S. Sometimes I wonder if I am still considered a “true” American. Actually, I’m not exactly sure what I am. I have the blue passport, I file my U.S. income tax, I vote in the U.S. elections, I celebrate Thanksgiving with turkey cutlets and gravy, and I read and write and think in English. I wouldn’t miss my American news podcasts for anything. But there are times when I feel more French than American.

I’m far from being a Parisienne, but I have picked up a few French customs over the years. I’m no longer a fashion faux pas — I can drape a silk scarf around my neck without it looking like a noose, I wear good shoes whenever I go out, and my wardrobe comprises mostly black clothing. I kiss my friends on the cheeks when I greet them, and when I’m annoyed I have been known to mutter, “Oh là là,” which the French really do say. I drink my coffee bitter and black. I have even tried (once) the breakfast ritual from the north of France, which consists of dipping bread and strong-smelling Maroilles cheese into a bowl of coffee. My English fails me sometimes; I accidentally insert French words into English sentences, or I’ll forget an English word and give a dismissive wave of the hand to fill in the blank. I have never bungee-jumped or explored the Amazon rainforest, but I’m more adventurous, in my own way. I have done a lot of exploring — and getting lost — so I know the city and the métro like the back of my hand. I prepare French dishes (with variable results), and I have eaten veal head and sea snails and frogs’ legs and various other creepy-crawlies. I can pick out the best camembert by gently palpating it, and I’m learning how to appreciate fine wine. All these things are part of me now. Although this country often leaves me scratching my head, and even though there will always be a part of me in California, I feel at home here.

People often ask me, “Don’t you ever get homesick?” and I tell them I do. Of course I do. Like most expats, I miss my family and my friends back in California. I miss out on all the milestones and the celebrations. I miss Thanksgiving and Halloween and the Fourth of July. When a loved one is ill or going through a hard time, I am filled with sense of guilt and selfishness for not being there. Sometimes I would like to reach out and give a hug, but I can’t. When people ask, “Would you ever move back home permanently?” I tell them the truth, that I don’t know. I really don’t.

Anyway, where is home for me? Many expats ponder this question. What exactly defines “home”? When I say “home,” do I mean California, where I grew up? Or is it France, where I have spent so many years? Is home the address on your passport? Is it where you were born? Is it where you keep your toothbrush and hang your hat? Is it the place where you sigh and put your feet up? Is it, like Robert Frost said, “the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in”? What if your heart is torn between two places? Does one’s heart have room for more than one home? Must I choose one place over the other?

These are difficult questions and I don’t think there is a simple answer. The way I see it, home is not just a house, a physical place with four walls and a roof on top. Home is not a geographical location, an address on a mailbox, or a thumbtack stuck in a map on a wall. Home is a feeling. It is where you want to be when you are not there. It is the place you can count on, the place where you are happy, the refuge where you feel safe, whether it’s California, Paris, or Timbuktu. Home is where you are surrounded by loved ones who understand you, and where you have built lasting memories. Maybe the answer is that home is within you, wherever you happen to be.

When I visit my family in the States, California is a mixture of foreign and familiar. I’m disoriented and a more than a little overwhelmed. I feel like a tourist from the planet Mars, an outsider who doesn’t know a thing other than the language. Being able to wear a silk scarf, or eat chicken wings with a knife and fork, is no help. I’m completely out of the loop — I don’t know the latest local news, the slang, or the celebrities. New stores have popped up, old favorites have closed. Hearing English all around me makes me feel like I’m hallucinating. I don’t know how to do the simplest tasks, like swipe my Visa card, bank at an ATM, or how to tip in a restaurant. Everything is enormous. Supermarkets are chock-full of items you need and don’t need, and the shelves are well stocked, the wide aisles free of boxes of merchandise being unloaded. It feels wrong to eat barbecued ribs with my fingers, but I can eat my fries with ketchup instead of mayonnaise without being teased. I hand over euro coins instead of nickels and dimes. I’m amazed you can buy medicine or Band-Aids after 8 p.m., or pick up a forgotten item at the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon. The whole world seems upside-down, and by the time I have started to turn myself right-side up, it’s time to go back to Paris.

Being an expat is not always easy, but I would never trade it for another way of life. Yes, it was tough in the beginning, and still is sometimes, but following my passion and living abroad is has been an enriching and rewarding experience. It has shaped me and changed me into what I hope is a better person. I don’t look at things in the same way I would if I had stayed in California. I have expanded my horizons and developed a broader view of the world. Being an expat allows you to see America in a different light, and you understand and appreciate it even more. I have discovered a lot about myself as well. I am more accepting and respectful of other cultures. I have grown stronger, more self-confident, and independent. I have learned to be humble and how to open my heart. And I have changed my priorities. I know how to slow down, let go of things, and make do with less. I have learned to focus on the positive and embrace new experiences. I feel blessed to have met incredible people, and I am thankful to have two places to call home.

If you are an expat struggling with culture shock or feelings of loneliness, whatever you do, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you are homesick, know that it’s perfectly normal. Homesickness is something almost every expat experiences; it’s part and parcel of living in a foreign country. Remember, it takes time to adapt to another way of life and bloom where you are planted. It helps to be curious, flexible, and open-minded. Don’t compare countries. Laugh whenever you can. Be brave, challenge yourself and climb out of that box in your comfort zone, but don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it. Try to speak French whenever you can. Make small talk, even if you mangle your words and your accent is cringeworthy. Eat everything on your plate and always carry an umbrella. Banish all negativity, find joy in everyday things and be delighted by what you find. Even though not everything makes sense in the beginning, when you are feeling lost, as though you are standing on the other side of the Great Wall of China, know that some days are tougher than others. Nothing in life is ever a smooth ride, no matter where you are. There are ups and downs and not everything goes according to plan. But if you are patient and willing to learn from your experiences, good or bad, I believe the journey is worth it. If you take it one day at a time, eventually things will start to fall into place, and one morning you just might wake up and realize that Paris, too, is home.

_____

My guest Blogger  for November is Carrie Delecourt , a writer who lives in Paris.

carrie.delecourt@memoirsofanordinarygirl.org

@carrieinparis

This guest blog is provided by courtesy of Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights to this essay belong to Carrie Delecourt, Paris, France.

I present this piece with gratitude to Carrie for her generosity in sharing her thoughts with SCANdalous-Recollections Blog. Thank you, Carrie!

_____

Contact Lynda Lambert:  riverwoman@zoominternet.net

Website:  www.lyndalambert.com

 

Be my Guest, Tara Bly Hackwelder

~ My Special Guest Writer for MARCH  ~

Tara Bly Hackwelder,  Pennsylvania writer

 

For each guest blogger, I ask just one question.  “What is on your mind?”

My guests are free to write about whatever they want to say in response to my invitation. Thank you, Tara, for your essay , “The Embraced Life.”

__________

The Embraced Life

 

We have all been given an extraordinary gift, and this gift that is precious and wonderful beyond understanding and measure is life.

Life: the journey it weaves into a complex tapestry

as we travel on our paths.

Life: the joys and heartaches, the laughter and tears, the expected and unknown, the blessings and the curses are mingled together to mold and shape us as our years grown in number.

Life is the most sacred and incredible gift that we will ever be given, and we must do everything in our power to honor and cherish this incredible blessing.  Living an embraced life is just one example of how we can make the most of the precious gift that has been bestowed upon us.

So, what is an “embraced life,”

and how to we live in such a way? 

 

It is important to first acknowledge the definition of what it means to “embrace.”

One definition of embrace is to hold tightly and lovingly, which is something that we should definitely practice in our lives.

Another definition of embrace is to enthusiastically accept or support something.  An embraced life is engaging in both of these practices:  to hold on tightly and lovingly, and to enthusiastically accept and support things that come our way.

The “embraced life” is one in which you practice love, kindness, acceptance and support during whatever trials or triumphs are placed in your path of life. The embraced life embraces all things:  the good, the bad, and the in between.

 

The only thing certain about the precious gift of life is that it is not certain.  No matter your age, health, or status there are no guarantees in life.  Your time on this Earth, the precious gift of your life, can expire at any moment.  There are no guarantees.  Your plans may fall exactly into place, or your plans may go totally awry. You may travel smoothly along your path, or you may travel a path that is full of mountains and curves and bumps.  The one certain thing about life is that you can never be certain of what lies ahead. When you live an embraced life, you cherish and live life to the fullest embracing whatever comes into your path.  This helps the uncertain, the unexpected, to become more tolerable and manageable.

We are human, and we are not created or born to be perfect.  We may strive for perfection, but we are not divine, and therefore are imperfect.  We are imperfect, flawed, chaotic, beautiful disasters of creation entrusted with life as a precious gift.  The embraced life allows us to embrace ourselves as imperfect, as continual works of progress along our paths.  Our stories have yet to be written.  We were not finished yesterday, and we are not finished today, and our story will still remain unfinished for an undetermined amount of tomorrows until we take our last breath.  Only then will our story be realized in its entirety.  When we lead an embraced life, it adds flavor, strength, and character to our story.

It is easy to embrace the good things, the joys, the blessings, and the triumphs in our life.  We encounter those things to give us a taste of sweetness, and fulfillment, and satisfaction. These happy moments bring us peace and light in the dark, scary, and difficult moments in our lives.  The embraced life recognizes that the blessings always outweigh the burdens.  Repeat this: the blessings always outweigh the burdens. Always. Even when it seems that there is no light, no peace, no joy to be found, it is during those times that we cling to, and draw from, the happiness, joy and blessings that we have been given in our lives.  As we cling to the good, the light and the peaceful blessings, it enables us to travel the rough patches with grace and strength.

When we are experiencing the dark, overgrown, troubling parts of our path in life, it is easy to wish things were different, to wish for better days, to wish for greener grass and a smoother road to travel on.  It is our nature to wish for those things during hard times.  We are not perfect. We are not built to handle everything perfectly and with grace all of the time.  When you live an embraced life, you embrace the dark, rough, and troublesome times.  You embrace these times with as much support, acceptance, and love as you embrace the happy times of light and peace. Wishing for better days, better times, and better things is futile.  When you embrace the bad, as well as the good, it will bring you abundance beyond your wildest imagination.

The concept of living an embraced life is something that I have witnessed in action, an ideal brought to fruition, as I have watched my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles growing up. I have witnessed by many excellent living examples what it means to live an embraced life. On my own path, I have done my best to lead by the example that I have been given by my family, to lead an embraced life.  The practice of living an embraced life has been particularly beneficial to me in the past few years as my husband and I have experienced several ups and downs in our family, especially with our medically complex, special needs daughter Elizabeth.  We have had to learn to embrace the good with the bad, the trials and the triumphs, and the blessings and the burdens along our path together.  I can say for certainty that we did not plan for, expect, or anticipate any of the challenges we have faced, especially with our daughter, but by leading an embraced life to the best of our abilities, we have definitely witnessed miracles.  Above all, through all of the uncertainty, we are certain that the blessings outweigh the burdens.

I challenge you to live an embraced life.

 

Live the life you’ve always dreamed of and always imagined.  Live life to the fullest. Create something every day. In each day, embrace the triumphs and trials, the blessings and curses, the beautiful and the ugly moments. Embrace it all. Embrace the life you’ve been given, the path that you travel, the blessings and the precious gift of life. It is yours to live.  It is yours to embrace.  It is your gift.  Cherish it, live an embraced life and remember that the blessings outweigh the burdens. Always.

 

__________

About Tara:

Tara Bly Hackwelder is a stay-at-home mom for her two children Celtan (age 5) and Elizabeth (Age 2). She recently left her teaching career behind to become a full time caregiver for Elizabeth, who has many rare and complicated medical and special needs. Tara and her family live in Butler, PA, and she is a native of Chicora, PA.

Tara’s Professional Background:

B.A. in Psychology from The Pennsylvania State University with minors in history and journalism.

She has also earned a M.A. in Sociology from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania an

M.Ed. from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.

Tara has worked as an adjunct professor teaching social science courses, as a social worker, teacher, and in many other capacities as an advocate for special needs and minority populations.

 

Tara’s interests include writing, as she currently writes a blog about her daughter’s journey, at www.teamelizabethjeanne.blogspot.com.

She also writes a blog about love, life, housewife/ stay at home mom tips, recipes, and crafting at www.alovespicedlife.com.

She enjoys crocheting, fashion, advocacy, baking, reading, history, philosophy, teaching, volunteer and humanitarian efforts, traveling, and spending time with her family and dog.

You can follow Tara on Twitter and Instagram @alovespicedlife.

 

this post is presented in much appreciation by  Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Below: Lynda Lambert, Photo by Bob Lambert:  “My Pink Scarf”

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2016.. All Rights Reserved. 

 

Knitting15_Scarf9_4

Lynda’s 2 blogs:

“Walking by Inner Vision” Link:  Walking by Inner Vision Blog
“SCANdalous – Recollections” Link:  SCANdalous – Recollections Blog

__________

Lynda’s Bio

Lynda McKinney Lambert – author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage” published by  Kota Press. To order, click here:  Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage
Lynda  authors two blogs on writing, the humanities, arts, and faith.
She is a freelance writer and her poetry and essays appear in numerous books and literary journals.  She is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities and she exhibits her fiber arts in exhibitions worldwide.
Currently, Lynda  has two books in development for publication in late 2016.

If you would like a signed copy of my book, contact me for information.

 

Be My Guest – Abbie Johnson Taylor

“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.” Rumi

My Special Guest Writer for February is

Abbie Johnson Taylor.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner

here’s a poem about love that endures through difficult times.

This poem was inspired by a song from a movie that was released in the late 1990’s. I never heard of the song or the movie until 2005.

 

this was after my late husband Bill proposed to me.

He was living in Fowler, Colorado, at the time, and I was here in Sheridan, Wyoming. We met through a magazine, and after a long-distance friendship during which we communicated regularly by e-mail and phone and met face to face twice, he sent me a letter, out of the blue, asking me to marry him. This was in January.

PHOTO_ValentineLetter

A month later, Bill  sent me a Valentine care package that included, among other things, a cassette tape of love songs he downloaded from the Internet.

One of these  songs was “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You”

from The Mask of Zorro. 

It became one of our songs.

 

 

 

Even now, after caring for him at home for six years when two strokes partially paralyzed him, and after I lost him three years ago, I still marvel that a man wanted to spend his lifetime loving me.

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To hear this song, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo4AWDELNiY . To hear me read the poem, visit https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/rise%20fal%20of%20zorro.mp3 .

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THE RISE AND FALL OF MY ZORRO

With cape, hat, mask, rapier,

he rode out of the darkness.

“Take my hand.  Dance with me,” he said,

“I want to spend my lifetime loving you,”

but happily-ever-after was not to be.

My hero fell and rose many times.

I felt the glory

until he fell for the last time.

Where there’s love, life begins again.

When life dies, love goes on.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor. Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Abbie’s Bio:

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of a novel and two poetry collections and is working on a memoir. Her work has appeared in Magnets and Ladders and Serendipity Poets Journal. She is visually impaired and lives in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, she cared for her late husband, totally blind and partially paralyzed as a result of two strokes. Please visit her blog at http://abbiescornere.wordpress.com and Website at http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com .

Below are links to Abbie’s books:

To hear this song, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo4AWDELNiY .

To hear me read the poem, visit https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/rise%20fal%20of%20zorro.mp3 .

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this post is presented in much appreciation by  Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.

 

Below: Lynda Lambert, Photo by Bob Lambert:  “My Pink Scarf”

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2016.. All Rights Reserved. 

 

Knitting15_Scarf9_4

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Lynda’s 2 blogs:

“Walking by Inner Vision” Link:  Walking by Inner Vision Blog
“SCANdalous – Recollections” Link:  SCANdalous – Recollections Blog

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Lynda’s Bio

Lynda McKinney Lambert – author of “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage” published by  Kota Press. To order, click here:  Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage
Lynda  authors two blogs on writing, the humanities, arts, and faith.
She is a freelance writer and her poetry and essays appear in numerous books and literary journals.  She is a retired professor of fine arts and humanities and she exhibits her fiber arts in exhibitions worldwide.
Currently, Lynda  has two books in development for publication in late 2016.

If you would like a signed copy of my book, contact me for information.