The Magic of Stone Soup

Children’s stories aren’t just for children! The book that Colin and I wrote, “The Odessa Chronicles”, can be enjoyed by all ages!  If you are running out of books to read while staying inside, our book is just a click away. You can click on the book cover in the right hand margin for more information.

I have never stopped enjoying children’s stories, for they have truths in them that we as adults can still identify with. The story “Stone Soup” popped into my head today and the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be appropriate to share right now.

We all have heard of the ones who are stockpiling and even fighting some others in grocery stores for certain products. Shelves are bare! Sadly greed is showing itself in this time of uncertainty. But as this short story shows, sharing is so much better! if you have never heard this story or have forgotten it, pour yourself a drink and sit back for just a little more than 5 minutes and enjoy! I do believe it will bring a smile.

Deep in the Heart

“Everyone would remember Peter for nineteen minutes of his life, but what about the other nine million? Lacy would have to be the keeper of those, because it was the only way for that part of Peter to stay alive. For every recollection of him that involved a bullet or a scream, she would have a hundred others of a little boy splashing in a pond, or riding a bicycle for the first time, or waving from the top of a jungle gym.”  (excerpt from the book Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult)

“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?”
― Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes

As I have mentioned before in posts, I love to read. Books and I go together like peanut butter and jelly, its just always been that way. I am not a shopper, but you can lose me in a bookstore.

I read a variety of books, and one of my favorite author’s in the fiction category is Jodi Picoult. She writes in a way that really makes you think, her books are not light reading. They deal with heavy, controversial issues. What would you do in their shoes?  You feel empathy for both characters on different sides of the issue, and Jodi raises questions, but doesn’t give a pat dry answer, for sometimes what you may have thought had an easy answer doesn’t.

In her book “Nineteen Minutes” book, a tragedy happens at a High School, a classmate goes on a shooting spree. I know, sadly, that is not fictional at all. But in this book Jodi delves into the heart of a parent, not just the heart of the parents of the victims but the heart of the shooter’s Mom.

There are many poignant scenes throughout the book. In one scene the court session had just taken a break and the Mother of Peter, the shooter, was in tears. Her friend came up to her and she said, “I remember … He used to like peanut butter on the top half of the bread and marshmallow fluff on the bottom. And he could find anything I dropped, my contact lens, an earring, a straight pin – before it got lost permanently. Something still exists as long as there’s someone around to remember it, right?”

My heart ached, yes, I knew I was reading fiction but for some parents out there it is far too real!  I can’t imagine their pain! How can you comprehend that the baby you held in your arms committed such a violent act?

Sometimes I think it is far too easy to say, well that child must have had a horrible parents to have turned out that way! How often do we blame parents for children’s problems, and yes there are times where the parents are very responsible, but it isn’t always black and white like that!

It is also easy to say how the shooter must be a horrible person, but this book also delves into their heart. Yes, again its fiction, but I think it raises something so important. Not everyone that commits an unthinkable act is a cold hearted person, its more complex than that.

Compassion is something that this world can’t have too much of and its not something that is only for those who you think deserve it. For there usually is so much more to the persons story than what you see and know. Everyone was once a child, who rode a bike, or flew a kite and maybe perhaps even ate a sandwich with peanut butter on the top half of the bread and marshmallow fluff on the bottom.

 

 

 

“The Little Red Hen”

Does this title spark any recognition? 

I spotted “The Little Red Hen” by Paul Galdone, at an Antique Market that my husband were browsing through this past weekend and I couldn’t resist buying the book for one dollar. I didn’t let myself think too long about how a book that I read in my childhood is now in an antique market, along with other things that I remembered from my childhood. Holly Hobby glasses, etc. Oh yes, time just keeps passing, doesn’t it! 

Back to the book, it brought back memories of my Mom reading it to me and then how I was so proud when I could read it to myself! I remembered the story well and how I loved the ending. 

For those of you who might not be familiar with the story, let me give you a little summary of it. I may be grown now, but I continue to love children’s stories and the lessons they can teach. Lessons that are good for adults as well. 

A little red hen lives with a cat, a dog and a mouse. Its a wonder the mouse stayed alive, but I didn’t think about that as a child. The cat, dog and mouse were all very lazy. Kind of reminds me of a cat named Dewey that I know very well.  The little red hen did all the housework and made all the meals. 

One day she decided to plant some wheat and she asked who would help, “Not I”, said the cat, “Not I”, said the dog, “Not I”, said the mouse.  So the little red hen planted it herself. She asked who would water it and pull the weeds from around it, “Not I”, said the cat, “Not I”, said the dog, “Not I”, said the mouse.  And so she did it by herself. This pattern kept repeating itself as she asked for help cutting the wheat and taking it to the mill and grounding it into flour and making a cake from the flour. The cat,dog and mouse, were too busy soaking up the sun, or laying by the fireplace, they didn’t have time for work! 

Then the dog smelled the delicious smell coming from the oven and the cat perked up its ears, (yes, that would be Dewey!) and they came into the kitchen just as the little red hen was pulling the beautiful looking cake out of the oven. Oh the faces of the cat, dog and mouse were shining with delight, as they started salivating! 

The little red hen looked at them all with their eyes shining with eagerness to taste the cake. She once again asked a question, “Who will help me eat this cake?”  “I will!”, said the cat, “I will!” said the dog, “I will!” said the mouse. 

BUT … the little red hen said, ” All by myself I planted the wheat, cut the wheat, gathered the wheat.”   ” All by myself, I gathered the sticks, built the fire, made the cake..” and “All by myself I am going to eat it!”  and here is my favorite line. “and so she did, down to the very last crumb!” 

Yes, I still laugh, and say, “Good for you! You show them!” 

See the delight you can still get from children’s books and the important messages they pass along. Delighting in children’s books is why I had so much fun writing “The Odessa Chronicles” with Colin and I hope those who read it can pick up lessons from it as well, just like the lessons I learned from the books I enjoyed as a child. 

What messages do you remember from some children’s stories? 

 

 

 

 

If Only….

Once upon a time there was a wonderful place far, far away, called Moonbeam Farm.  At Moonbeam Farm there lived an older gentleman with a big heart and a crazy sense of humor. He lived on Moonbeam Farm with his 3 crazy best friends.

His crazy friends consisted of a sassy Barn Owl, Odessa.  A sweet, but tricky Jackalope, Jaxon,  and a curious cat, Dewey,  whose favorite activities were sleeping and eating!

These characters not only look very  different from each other, but their likes, dislikes and abilities are very different. Jaxon would never eat a mouse and Dewey the cat would starve if all he had to eat were veggies and grass. Odessa shakes her head in despair many times over the way the man-servant uses the English language, but it doesn’t stop her from being his friend.

Their differences may be many, but forever best friends they will always be. For they all have big hearts! Hearts that have compassion and love, which enables them to  see past their differences. They celebrate what they have in common, their love of adventuring, their sense of humor and their loyalty to each other.

If only real life could be more  like life at Moonbeam Farm. If only we humans could celebrate our differences instead of letting fear hold us back from opening our hearts to another. If only we could learn from each other, instead of putting the other person down for things we don’t understand. If only  we could let hearts of compassion and love rule, instead of being ruled by what our eyes see.

If only fiction could become a little more real!

If you  would like to take a trip to Moonbeam Farm where love and laughter reign, feel free to click on the book cover in the right hand margin. Perhaps you know of someone on your Christmas list who could enjoy some refreshment to their soul, young and old alike. No fighting for a parking space or waiting in long shopping lines, just one click online and your work is done. Let the Man-servant, Odessa, Dewey and Jaxon spread some joy to your heart and the hearts of others this Christmas season.

 

 

 

 

 

She wasn’t real!

I have mentioned before how I have loved to read since I have been very young. I always had a book pretty much everywhere I went. I remember visiting with my parents when I was younger and sitting in the middle of a room with adults conversing about things I didn’t understand. Didn’t bother me a bit, for I just would lose myself in a book. Books were a constant friend of mine and they continue to be to this day. Just don’t have quite as much time as I had a child to read them!

I could never be a contestant on the Jeopardy show. I am nowhere close to being an expert on different kinds of trivia. My brain has way too many other things to remember! But now when it comes to books that is one category that I feel I can sometimes be pretty good about knowing different facts. I know the authors of well known books, well … at least I thought I did!

Tonight I learned that “Carolyn Keene” really doesn’t exist, the author of the Nancy Drew series that I read when I was young. Here I thought it was cool that the author was named “Carolyn”, but nope, the real person with the idea for the Nancy Drew mysteries wasn’t even a woman! It was Edward Stratemeyer.

I claim to know a lot about books, but yet I didn’t know this! I am ..smacking my head… for the 2nd time today.

Apparently he was the man behind a lot of other books as well.  He was also behind the series that I loved as a child, “The Bobbsey Twins”. That was another series where I remembered the author’s name all these years, “Laura Lee Hope”, but once again there really is no one with that name!

Yes, I know ghost writers have been around for a long time, but I just didn’t know it about these specific series. Plus this wasn’t just an author that used a different name. Both of these series were written by several different authors. Edward started them off, but then hired lots of different writers to continue with the series. He would write a 3 page outline about what he would like the book to be about and then he would hand it over. He would pay the writer between $50-$250 for each book, and he would collect all the royalties.

Perhaps this isn’t news to anyone, for I am used to being in the dark abut things, but I would like to think I enlightened someone. 🙂

Is there some new trivia fact that you have learned that you didn’t know before, feel free to share below!

 

Friday’s Super Short Stories!

Logic can sometimes be overruled by emotions. 

Books and music are  wings to our soul. Wings that can help us delve into our innermost parts, and other times take us on a ride to new heights! 

The child dances in the moment with unabashed joy, the dog wags his tail with glee, and the cat purrs contently, neither one worried about what the next moment may bring, so why do we? 

 

Sunday Smiles at the Lake

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We took a hike around the lake today. The lake brought to mind a story from “The Odessa Chronicles.”  A story that brought a smile. Dewey, the cat, gives in to his curiosity and falls for a trick, when he is with his friends at the lake.

When have you fallen for something? What’s a big joke that was pulled over on you or that you pulled on someone else?  What would it take to lure you into a trap? With Dewey, its just about anything, for his curiosity gets the best of him! Jaxon, the jackalope. is a little more smart about being cautious, though he may follow a trail of crispy vegetables to a trap. Odessa is a wise barn owl, as she will let you know repeatedly, but even the wisest ones can still be tricked. The man-servant may be sly, but if you are clever enough, you just may be able to pull one over on him.

You never can be too sure about what may happen with our Moonbeam gang! If you would like to know more about Dewey’s adventure at the lake, just click on the book cover in the right hand margin.  The perfect book to enjoy while sitting by the lake on a beautiful Fall day!

Warning: You will need a healthy dose of craziness in you before reading, and you need to love to laugh! A desire to become childlike again, as you take a visit to Moonbeam Farm. If you are not sure how crazy you are,  just find your birthday month on the “scientific” chart below. Can’t say I totally agree with this chart, but … I am sure there are some people that may. If you don’t rate too high on the craziness scale, don’t worry, you obviously need this book then. It will help raise your score, which will help you relax, taking a break from the stresses of life!

What do you think of the chart? Did it get you right? 🙂

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The Greenwoods Election!

I recently have written some posts to do with politics and the troubling times in our midst. Today I thought I would share another political post, but on a lighter note. Some of you may have read this story when Colin posted it on his blog a few months ago, but good stories can always be enjoyed a second time around, right.

Our dear friends at Moonbeam Farm have also been troubled with politics. Its been awhile since we taken a peek into their lives, so lets see what exactly is going on.  If you want more information about the stories in “The Odessa Chronicles” and how you can purchase a copy, please click on the cover of the book in the right hand margin. 

The Greenwoods Election

The farm, where the Man-Servant lives with his friends Dewey, Jaxon and Odessa, is called Moonbeam Farm, and is within the boundaries of the Township of Greenwoods. It was election time there as the Mayor’s term in office was coming to a close.

There were two candidates for the job of Mayor, and neither impressed the Man-Servant too much. One of them, Jake Fullofitt, was promising so much that was either unrealistic or would destroy the Township of Greenwoods as they knew it. He was promising lots of development and new jobs, but did not seem to appreciate the beauty of the rural area and how that would be destroyed along with the natural habitats of many creatures.

The other candidate, Dolores O’Dear, seemed to have a much better grasp on how the Township of Greenwoods could go into the future without undue conflicts with nature, but she did seem rather secretive and possibly devious in her methods of getting things done.

On election night, the Man-Servant knew what he had to do. He had talked about this important decision with the other three, and Dolores was going to get his vote. He just hoped that the rumors about her were untrue (and probably created by Jake Fullofitt), and that her education, common sense, and an overall desire to do the best she could for the area, would prevail.

Later that night, the Man-Servant was watching the election results as they came up on his TV screen, and was getting concerned because Jake Fullofitt seemed to be winning. Not all the votes had been counted, but it was looking rather bad for the Township of Greenwoods. He went to the back door and called across to the barn for Jaxon and Odessa to come over and join him. He then woke up Dewey and said they were having an urgent meeting!

They were all sitting around the log fire as the Man-Servant explained his concerns. He really wanted Dolores O’Dear to win, but it was not looking good. Odessa looked very thoughtful “You know,” she said, “I’ve been around quite a bit and have seen these situations before!” “Great!” said the Man-Servant. “How are they resolved?” “Easy.” said Odessa. “The unpopular candidate wins! What would you expect with a democratic voting process?” The Man-Servant looked at her and shook his head. “Thank you Odessa. Dewey… you are a devious creature when you want to be. Do you have any thoughts?” Dewey was asleep!

Jaxon, however, was looking really thoughtful. “Man-Servant.” he said. “What if I could influence the end result with my magic. Should I?” The Man-Servant looked at him. “Well Jaxon, we really should not interfere with the process, but Jake Fullofitt has lied so much that I think the future of life around here as we know is being threatened. Let’s just wait a little longer and see the results as more votes are counted.”

It was not long before the situation deteriorated further, and so the Man-Servant asked Jaxon to do whatever he could. Jaxon was sitting at the time, but soon stretched out with his head resting on his front legs, and clearly he was concentrating. The Man-Servant had never seen Jaxon look so focused, and was fascinated by what he was witnessing. Was it jackalope magic perhaps? He noticed Jaxon’s nose twitch a few times and then he was motionless, and with his eyes closed, for a good minute or two.

He then opened his eyes and smiled. “Man-Servant!” he said. “I think it has worked. I think Dolores O’Dear will win now so you just go to bed and have a good sleep!”

The Man-Servant smiled and went to bed but, as he lay there, he was thinking about what Jaxon did. Had he really manipulated the democratic process? Should he have allowed that to happen, after all it is the majority vote that should win? He tossed and turned and had a generally very bad night, with lots of questions on his mind and very little sleep.

When he turned on the radio the next morning, he heard that Dolores O’Dear had in fact won the election! He immediately went over to the barn to talk with Jaxon, and to explain that perhaps it was a mistake to interfere with the voting process. Odessa saw the Man-Servant first. “What’s up Man-Servant? Baffled by logic again?” The Man-Servant looked at her. “Odessa… this is serious! I asked Jaxon to fix the election process, and that was very wrong.”

Odessa looked a little puzzled, and looked at Jaxon (who had just arrived) and then back to the Man-Servant. “Are you saying that you believe Jaxon had something to do with the end result of the election yesterday?” “Yes!” said the Man-Servant. “That is exactly what I am saying!” Odessa took a couple of steps sideways towards Jaxon, and kicked him. “Don’t you have something to say to the Man-Servant?” she asked.

Jaxon was looking at his feet, which is what he tended to do when put in an awkward situation. “Well Man-Servant. My magic could not possibly affect an election process.” The Man-Servant shook his head. “But it did Jaxon! It did! I saw you do your magic thing, and Dolores won the election!” Jaxon looked up. “When you asked me to do that magic, Odessa winked at me, so I thought that I would pretend… just for a laugh.”

Odessa jumped up and down. “I didn’t wink at you! I was winking at Dewey because he was sneaking behind the Man-Servant to get to his food bowl!” Just at that moment, Dewey wandered into the barn. “I heard that Odessa!” he said. “I wasn’t sneaking around behind the Man-Servant, I was just going around him so that I could get a better view of Jaxon as I thought I heard magic mentioned!”

The Man-Servant sat down on the barn floor while the conversations were going on. “Tell me Jaxon.” he said. “Did your magic have any chance at all of impacting the election?” “Not a chance!” said Jaxon. “Not only does it have severe limitations on what it can do, but I am still trying to understand it so… no chance Man-Servant!”

Odessa then stepped closer to the Man-Servant. “You really have to smarten up you know if you want to fit in with us! We all know that Jaxon’s magic really sucks most of the time. Why aren’t you getting it?” The Man-Servant looked directly into Odessa’s eyes. “But Dolores won the election! How could she have done that without Jaxon’s magic?” Odessa just shook her head. “This may be difficult for you, being a mere human, to grasp… but please concentrate. Dolores received the most votes! That is how she won, but why am I explaining that to you? It is your democratic process after all!”

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Smiles from Vancouver

In yesterday’s post I shared about the “special gold nuggets” from our trip to Vancouver. They happened to be Colin, my co-author/friend, and blogger from http://meandray.com/2019/07/19/these-past-few-weeks-part-3/  and his wonderful daughter, Melanie.

Melanie has an indomitable spirit that is amazing! She has been through a lot, but she stays positive and has been an inspiration to me in the past couple years that I have known her. I cherish her friendship!

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I of course value Colin’s friendship too. As I said in my other post, they are quite the duo! You never know quite what to expect from them. They can send your mind spinning! I may have experienced that a time or two or more!  Remember yesterday’s picture that I titled “A rose between 2…?”

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Well the next 2 pictures show what happens, when one Chappell gets a bright idea and the other one is on the same page!

Being that Colin and I co-authored “The Odessa Chronicles”, Colin decided that we need to pose for a picture with the book. Good practice for when the book becomes famous and we need to do photo shoots. I do believe we may need more practice!

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I was so close to just collapsing on the floor!

Yes, this trip is one that will be remembered always. There was tea, gelato, hugs and laughter shared! Could it be any better? Perhaps if there wouldn’t have had to be goodbyes! But as my favorite Bear says!

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The Fishy Negotiation (Part 2)

If you didn’t get a chance to read part 1 yesterday, here is a link to it. The Fishy Negotiation

Hope you enjoy the rest of the story and if you do, you would probably love the book! Feel free to click on “The Odessa Chronicles” cover in the right hand margin, for more information. There is  definitely a lot more crazy moments that this gang have together  and heartwarming ones as well.

Do you think Odessa was successful in teaching Dewey how to be polite and use his manners?  Can a Barn Owl actually teach a cat manners? Well, when it comes to Odessa, just about anything can happen!

Enjoy!

The Fishy Negotiation (Part 2)

Much later that day, the man-servant was relaxing in his chair in the living room when Odessa, Jaxon, and Dewey walked in. All three of them stood in front of the man-servant, and then Odessa hit Dewey with a wing, and Jaxon gave him a gentle kick with one of his back legs. “Go for it.” he whispered to Dewey.

“Please, Mr. Man-Servant,” said Dewey, “would you be so kind as to share your fish with me the next time you decide to have it for breakfast?”

The man-servant looked at him in disbelief. “Well yes, of course I will, Dewey,” he replied.

Dewey was smiling now. “When you have a free moment, would you please put some more food in my bowl?”

The man-servant did not know quite what to say except, “Of course, Dewey. It will be my pleasure to do so.”

Odessa and Jaxon were smiling at each other. They were both amazed at the transformation. “I am really good.” said Odessa to Jaxon. “Who would have thought that Dewey could be trained to be polite? He is a cat after all.”

Jaxon looked up at Odessa. “You’re a genius.” he said.

That was the tone for the rest of the evening. Odessa was feeling very proud of herself. Jaxon was in total admiration for what she had achieved, and the man-servant was still in shock at Dewey’s transformation. Dewey, however, had a sly grin on his face.

The next morning, the man-servant was in the kitchen with the intent of getting his breakfast, but he could not find anything. The cupboard where he kept his cereals was empty. His tins of salmon were gone, and even his bread had disappeared. He decided to make himself a cup of tea and relax while he sorted out what was happening. However, not only had his box of tea disappeared, but his kettle had also gone missing.

“Good morning, Man-Servant,” said Dewey with a big smile on his face. “Did you have a pleasant sleep?”

The man-servant looked at him. “You’re being very nice this morning. Do you know anything about all the stuff that is missing here?”

“I may well know a lot about the missing stuff,” said Dewey.

The man-servant was not very amused. “Dewey … I want my breakfast, so tell me what you have done with everything.”

“Tell you?” said Dewey. “Tell you? What kind of request is that?”

The man-servant stared at him. “Dewey, you had better tell me or you will regret it!”

At that moment, Odessa and Jaxon wandered in. Odessa soon picked up on their conversation. “Man-Servant,” she said, “you and I should have a talk.”

“Not now.” said the man-servant.

“Oh, I think that now is a perfect time.” said Odessa. “Let me ask you a question. How did you feel yesterday when Dewey very politely asked that you share your fish with him? How did you feel when he politely requested that his bowl be filled with food?”

The man-servant looked at Odessa. “What?” he asked. “What has that got to do with anything?”

“It has everything to do with anything, because you were so happy when Dewey was being polite, and yet you feel that you can be rude to him. You’re just as bad as he was.”

The man-servant thought for a moment. “I am sorry, Dewey,” he said. “Now would you please show me where my breakfast things are?”

“Nah!” said Dewey. “Sweat it out, Man-Servant. You’re not dealing with your average cat, you know?”

Odessa was shaking her head. “You can dress him up, but you can’t take him anywhere.”

Jaxon looked puzzled. “When did you hear that saying, Odessa?”

“A long time ago. It’s an old human expression,” she said.

Meanwhile, the man-servant was trying to resolve the problem of his breakfast. “I’ll tell you what, Dewey … you show me where you hid my breakfast stuff, and I’ll share my fish with you at dinner this evening.”

“Okay,” said Dewey, “but I also want my cushions fluffed up and fresh water in my bowl.”

“Okay,” said the man-servant, “but then I expect you to tidy up your play things before going to bed.”

Dewey looked at him. “Deal!”

Jaxon moved up closer to Odessa and whispered, “What just happened?”

Odessa rolled her eyes. “Two of nature’s strangest creatures negotiated what could well be a working relationship, and in a language of which neither has a very strong grasp. Our lives here could well be much easier from now on … but I doubt it.

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