Personal Essay, short story, TTOT

Ten Things of Thankful – August 16

yellow plush toy
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It’s time for the wonderful weekly wows of thankfulness! Let’s do this!

1. The Katzenjammer Kids – Not only is this fun to say, it’s a classic comic from looooong ago. They even made a postage stamp for them. It’s HERE Go and check this out on THIS SITE Comics, in general have always been my go to for entertainment. Back when I was a child I bought multiple packs of comics where you wouldn’t know what you got, except the one on top. It was always fun to see the reveal. Fortunately, I rarely found a comic I didn’t like and my brothers would find them interesting, otherwise. I think that was part of the fun. It was hoping I would find something to share with them. While I don’t subscribe to a newspaper anymore, I still look at the comics whenever I happen upon a paper.

2. Dogs I have known – I am in a reminiscent mood of late and I am thinking of the dogs who have influenced my life. Sport, who didn’t live long in our home and found a place on a farm, because he bit me. I cried when he left. Barney the beagle who lived in our hearts. I like how he always checked on my little brother, just making sure he was okay. And how he barked at toast. And ate my lunchmeat one too many times when I turned my back. And who played with Rowdy the neighbor dog, fighting over an old pillow while each had a end of it and would get in Barney’s house and run around and around with the darned pillow clenched in their mouths. Thump Thump Thump. Then Sam who preferred the outdoors much of the time. He was our watchdog. He was super laid back and some kind of mutt. Then there was Pee Wee, who was part peekapoo and part dachshund who got his name for the obvious. He was quite the dog and brave for his size. Then Patsy came along after Pee Wee died. Daddy suggested a beagle again and he was right on about Patsy. She was the sweetest. She rarely barked and was very simply a nice companion. Then there was Sandy, Maya, Hannah and Shakespeare. That’s enough dogs for this lifetime, doncha think? I won’t be having any more dogs, but I sure love when I can love on other’s doggies.

Pee Wee

3. Cuisine – I’ve been bored with my cooking lately and WARNING!! When you get older, your taste buds change. Some days I can barely taste what I’m eating other than to say it’s salty or sweet. I use more spices than maybe others do simply to try and put some flavor in there. A friend was making tacos yesterday and inspired me to try roasting peppers, onions a mushrooms. I could actually taste quite a bit of these, so that’s a win. I suppose that stronger tasting foods are going to be my choice. And I thought that if I could not taste so well that would mean apathy leading to weight loss. No, it does not work that way. You still try to find some things that taste good. No worries, though, because the weight is still becoming a loss. If you really want to see what I had you have to go to this LINK

4. Flea Market finds AND a friend who will pick them up and deliver them – welp – not really, but I saw these two chairs by the dumpster where I live and grabbed them. They are going to be picked up today by my friend and used on the patio of my daughter’s home. Aren’t they cute? I didn’t keep the ball.

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5. Art – I’ve been in a creative funk of late when it comes to my art. Last Monday I got together with a dear friend and we did some artsy stuff before we did some writing stuff. I took a picture of the asphalt cracks a good while ago and from that I was able to create this image of what I will call Lady on the Bridge.

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6. Six Sentence Story – I am working hard on story crafting and this group helps me to stretch my brain cells. Here this weeks story and I will warn you that it’s not a happy story, but I believe it will have a happy ending. You just gotta believe! Here is the STORY

7. Angel Card Project – We participate in the Angel Card Project and while the focus is on Christmas cards we expand to other cards when a need comes up. The leader/creator of the group has a Facebook page and if you would like to join, that would be awesome. Many of the card recipients are people who are lonely and need to know there are people who care about them, regardless of being strangers. After all, a friend is a stranger until you meet them. Here’s the link to the Angel Card Project page.

8. Errand Buddy – Each week when I run errands, mostly grocery shopping, I have a bestie who goes with me. While we are running about we solve most of the problems of the world. So, if you find that it’s a better place out there, you are welcome.

woman standing beside pineapple fruits
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9. Messy Desk – Right now, I would not take a picture of my desk as it is very messy. That is something to be thankful for. A messy desk is a sign of production and I have been trying and it shows.

10. Invitations – You are invited to be a part of Ten Things of Thankful. Why not join in and share about your week? It is inspiring to hear about life and it’s challenges and overcoming adversities. Now, more than EVER we need the connection of love, caring, sharing to hold each other up. So my 10th thankful is that I am able to invite YOU to a place at the gratitude table. Come sup with us and leave feel satisfied. I may even cook some greens and cornbread for you.
Or do you need sweet tea?

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I like that expression!!

Sooooooo, drum roll!!! Here’s where you go to Link Up!!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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blog, Personal Essay, poetry, short story

Writing Raw and To Prompts Opens up Possibilities for Creativity

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Writing Raw and To Prompts Opens up Possibilities for Creativity

Many times when we write it’s to some kind of theme. It could be from a prompt or thought finding a place on paper. Have you ever written raw? Writing raw is putting pen to the paper and writing whatever thoughts come to mind. When I took the course The Artist’s Way I found this technique to be most helpful. We wrote every morning in what they called the “Morning Pages” and there were no hard and fast rules. You just grabbed your notebook and wrote by hand (yes no keyboard) and wrote a designated amount of time. Then, you put it away and went on about your other life duties. In the course, you came back to the writings and from them could find things to further write about or learn from. It was very revealing to me about certain things needing focus and other things I needed to let go. It was a revealing and healing exercise. It also helped me to use this technique in other writing.

 

I am in an online group call Signs. It is a slow writing group where we write to a certain theme, but it’s not rushed. You take some time to write to the theme and just let it flow. No edits. Just flow with the theme and write whatever comes to mind. It’s another way of revealing to me, my innermost thoughts. It’s not completely writing raw as there is a theme or photo prompt, but it can end up being a piece that may not have one thing to do with the prompt. So, I would call this writing “Lightly Prompted.”

Another online group I belong to also has prompts and you write six sentences to reveal your thoughts around the prompt word. I have been a part of this group for a good while now. It has opened up for me to be more concise with my words and to tell a story with fewer words. Sometimes I write poetry to these prompt words and, one of my personal favorites is to do acrostics. The group supports each other with responses and it is fun to see what develops. Some have developed longer stories from their works on this challenge.

Recently, I started writing to a haiku/senryu online challenge where we have a picture prompt which we interpret and write to in the form of a haiku or senryu. This is a newer challenge and I am loving this. It is interesting to see what others come up with and is a lot of fun.

About once a quarter the Living Poetry group here in the RTP area has a Germination Workshop in which we write to prompts. This helps generate some rough draft poetry. You can develop poems from this and some have been published. The reveal, where we all share what we write is interesting as you hear so many points of view.

What do you write to? Are prompts helpful for you or do you prefer writing raw? I like to mix it up. When you are stuck or need a warmup exercise for your other writing, thinking long work report you must get done, try to write a haiku or short, short story just to get the brain warmed up before entering the demands of life. That is what I am doing right now. It’s gonna make for a much better day.

If you would like links to the online challenges please let me know. I am happy to invite others to join the fun.

blog, Personal Essay

E-Books and Print Books are Both Needed

black and white bed stripes kindle
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Frequently, there are posts about print books being the preferred method of reading and all the wonderful feelings elicited from holding, smelling and reading print books. Frankly, I am right there with these wonderful factors about print books. As I got older and had to wear bifocals. large print books became my go to books whenever I could get them. Then, I discovered from my friend who is visually challenged, that you can have your e-reader read your books to you. What a wonderful resource. I purchased an e-reader and discovered this was not only easy on the eyes, but it leant to relaxed reading.

What is the issue then? Well, because e-books are not universal, being up to the author or publisher, you can’t always get a book in this format. Then there is the library issue, where they may purchase e-books, but print books are still a priority. My friend needs to have books via e-books and I help her out by ordering them from the library. They can take a good while to have these available as there is always a budget to work with. They may not happen at all. My friend orders some e-books online, but that can get costly, if you are an avid reader.

There are other reading apps such as the audio books, but not everyone likes this method, for whatever reason. There are other resources such as phone readers and the National Library Service Talking Book Program. Searching online will bring up several choices. One of the easiest ways to reach folks is via e-books being published when print books are published.

This may open up a discussion of debate and is not meant to do so. It’s more my way of stating that there is a greater need for e-books to be just as available as print books. When I published my book, I first published it as an e-book and then followed right away with the print version. Most of my sales have been e-books, so I think the figures speak for themselves. Just something to think about.

Personal Essay

Mother’s Day is Every Day

My Post (25)Every day is Mother’s Day for me. I consider myself to be the luckiest woman in the world, just to say that. As some of you know, and now the rest of you, I didn’t become a mother in the conventional sense of the word. But. Does it really matter? I may have adopted. I may have first viewed my child when she was 8 years old, as a foster child. It does not mean that I didn’t go through labor pains. It sure doesn’t.

Anybody who has fostered knows what I am talking about. First, you have to be assessed for a criminal background. That pack of gum I took at age 6 might just show up on my record. Well, whew for that one. I call statute of limitations on that experience. You have to be fingerprinted and wait…wait…wait… Then you do classes. Now, this is where I tend to get preachy. If you ever, ever, ever are thinking of parenting, then take a foster parent class. I can guarantee that you will find this to be just as applicable to raising your own natural born children. The scenarios vary and are very adaptable. You get questions such as: What would you do if your child wanted to run away from home? How do you feel about thumb sucking? What are your plans for meals? Do you plan to serve your children the same things you eat, why or why not? Get the picture? When taking the classes, I often asked myself what my parents would have given for answers. How I was raised, I saw no real issues with. I turned out well. If I had answered some of the questions with the way I was raised, well, I may not be a parent today. See how that works. It’s a catch and you have to be aware of these things.

What I do not know is if you have to do these classes if you do a private adoption. I have heard that you have to be assessed but I really have not done the research about how all of that works. My expertise has always been with the foster care to adoption system via the state system. I graduated with an emphasis of experience in child welfare. My interests have always been in public vs private. Not to knock those who choose going private. I can think of a million and one reasons why I would think that would be preferred. Just like, I have a million and one reasons why I went the route I did. No judgment.

As an aside…if you didn’t know this…did you know I did my practicum at an adoption agency in New York? It was a great experience. Here I was a Midwesterner from a very small Mississippi River town who spent this period in NYC and worked out of Little Neck NY. I was exposed to much more than I expected and greatly enriched my knowledge about adoption, high risk adoptions, how kids are matched with parents, what prejudices people deal with, cultural influences, socioeconomic challenges, and more. I did learn that my heart could break for birth parents, that I have compassion for all people involved in the adoption spectrum, that if I had the powers in me that all adoptions would be open adoptions, and more…so much more. None of this had anything to do with big city life vs small city life. Problems are problems are problems. Each area has some kind of somethings to deal with.

Back to my initial story…  There was a long wait from inception of the idea to foster to the day when my daughter and I met. We met at an ice cream shop in a little town about 30 minutes from where we lived. We were to meet, see how it felt to each of us and if all went well, I would take her home for the weekend. We did that. We went home. Well, on the way home this beautiful brown eyed doll asked me if she could call me “mommy.” Now, think about the TV show about What would you do? I covered this is in my poem from my chapbook:

Call Me Mommy

You asked me,
Your 8-year-old self,
May I call you ''mommy?''
I lost it.

So, you can kind of get an idea where that ended.

From the time I met my daughter, I just knew she was not going to be fostered long term. I already adopted her in my heart. When she came to live with us, I knew, just knew that it would be forever. Right before Christmas, at a special arrangement with the court house and many thanks to my attorney, we were able to grant our daughter the one wish she had for Christmas. She wanted to take our last name. The following spring, around this same time of year, she was baptized. That was another of her wishes. And we had a huge adoption party for her. It was like all of those Christmases and birthdays that were missed over all the years, all in one.

Later in life, we learned we could help her search for one family member of her choice via the adoption search service offered by the state of adoption. She chose to find her brother. Funny thing about that is that he was found in the state of NC and we were in IA are the time, only after living in NC for a number of years. We eventually moved back to NC and they met. Along with her brother, she found out he had children and my daughter became an instant aunt. Since that time, she has found all but two siblings and more extended family, largely in the Facebook scene and thanks to the brother that she found. He had discovered where people were. I feel such joy for her that she found her blood family. But the one thing that stands strongly intact is the bond that she and I have a mother and child. There is nothing that will change that.

I have my daughters consent to talk about these things and she loves to hear the story about when we met. She loves that it is in poetic form. But the greatest lyrics are those that are in our hearts. Those you cannot put to a tune but can only feel within your soul. My soul connects to my daughter in an unexplainable way and that is why I believe that we take our families into our hearts and souls and make them ours in that very way.

There’s another story to be told about motherhood, but that is in another upcoming post. Just know this. If you have it in your heart and soul to allow another person in to your life, considering fostering and maybe even adoption is not a bad way to go.