Feeling Blessed!

 

My husband and I took a hike today in a new area. The woods were so quiet as we walked by lush green plants and pretty wildflowers. The more we walked we began to hear the distant sound of water flowing. Found our way down to the creek and walked along it for a little ways, enjoying the sound of the water. I told my husband that I would love to have a creek in our backyard again.

One of the first places we had when we were married was a cottage in a meadow with a creek. Loved going out there in the morning and sitting by it with a book, or my journal, so that I could write.

I love nature, I can never tire of it! It is a gift to us, and I feel rich being able to enjoy it. It clears the mind and makes you feel at peace. We found our way to a waterfall, it wasn’t a huge, rushing one, but still pretty to watch the water run down the rocks. The hike back up the mountain may cause me some problems getting out of bed tomorrow morning, but it was worth it! A beautiful day!

As we walked I thought about the things that made me feel rich, love and friendship, and being able to enjoy the outdoors. Having good health where I can get outside, and living in an area where the woods isn’t far away. Yes, I am a beach person, but I do love the woods as well.

A recent conversation also came to my mind. I was talking about “The Odessa Chronicles” and Colin and I can’t say that the book has made us rich as far as monetary gain, BUT.. I pointed out that the book did indeed make us rich.

I have an owl, cat and a jackalope that will be my forever friends! Oh yes, and can’t forget the kind hearted man-servant.
I have seen children’s smiles and felt their hugs, because of our stories.
I have had words of appreciation for the book touch my heart deeply.
I have seen animals that had only existed in my crazy imagination become loved by others.
Colin and I both agree that we have gained far better riches than money!
Sure, we would love for “The Odessa Chronicles” to become a bestseller, and I do highly recommend that you check it out. You can just click on the picture of the cover in the right hand margin if you are interested in finding out more. But whether it ever becomes a bestseller or not, we are blessed by the smiles that we know it has brought, and how the stories have touched us!
I pray that when you go to bed at night that you can feel blessed by riches that can’t be bought. They are the ones that we can store in our hearts and never have disappear!

 

The Language of Love

f895809594fc780124535e280a924c7d pinterest, Elephants from the Thula Thula Reserve

In the past several years I have developed a growing fondness for elephants. They are majestic creatures who have a very strong maternal bond with their children and they just are fascinating. Very smart animals!  I recently read a book called “The Elephant Whisperer” and I was so intrigued by it and wanted to share it with all of you in case you are looking for a book to read.

It is a true story by Lawrence Anthony. He lived inZululand, South Africa and owned a wildlife reserve, the Thula-Thula Reserve. it consisted of 5000 acres. He was granted the opportunity to save a herd of elephants from death, and he jumped at the chance. Little did he know how his life would be changed. He developed a true bond with the elephants and it really is a powerful story to read. Its not a “how to” understand elephants book , its the simple story of what happens when a man opens his heart to a family of elephants.  The things they teach him about loyalty and trust, and about what can happen when you show an animal how much you care. He became known as the “Elephant Whisperer”, but he said it was the elephants that whispered to him, he just learned to listen.

The book is filled with many moving moments, as you see into the heart of certain elephants. Nana is the matriarch of the herd and Lawrence had to win her love and respect first, for the herd followed her. With much patience and dedication he did win Nana over. He describes the first moment that he finally began to feel her trust.

“For a few magnetic moments we connected. I stood a little closer as she moved the tip of her trunk over my t-shirt and then touched me on the head and face. I was completely entranced.”

He hadn’t realized how much he had won her over though until a specific incident occurred.

He had been trying to work with a new, young elephant that had come to the reserve, She had watched her whole family be killed, and she was very scared and angry at humans. She got along wonderfully with the herd of elephants. It was a joy to watch the elephant who at first had acted so scared and shy,  now frolic with the other elephants. She was getting used to her new home but she still did not trust Lawrence. He had to be careful of her, for she had tried to charge at him several times, and though she was considered a youngster, she still far outweighed Lawrence.

One time when he was out on the reserve he found himself in danger. He saw the young elephant and the look in her eyes. He knew she was going to charge, and this time he was not close to his vehicle to jump in. His heart was pounding and then, Nana, the matriarch, stepped in.

She stopped her grazing and stepped in front of Lawrence, protecting  him with the broadside of her body. The young elephant stumbled back, knocked off course. She meekly swung around and headed back to the herd and Nana went back to grazing like nothing had happened. Lawrence describes his feelings in the words below.

“I stared, barely breathing, pulling body, soul and nerves back together. I had never heard before of a wild elephant blocking the charge of another to protect a human! Nana was radically changing the way I perceived her species.” 

The book is filled with moving moments like this and humorous ones as well. How Lawrence and his staff  trick some poachers and scare them so badly that they knew they wouldn’t be back. What happens when one thinks a Black Mumba snake got into your house and you can’t find it! Black Mumba snakes are one of the most deadliest snakes’s around.

What happens when there is flooding, your LandRover is stuck in the mud and you aren’t sure where the crocodiles are?

You will feel like you are in Africa, in the bush, walking with the elephants, as you read this. There will be moments that will bring tears of joy and tears of sadness. It really is a story like no other. You will be amazed at the way these elephants think and it will make you wonder again if we humans really are the more intelligent ones!

We hear often of how dogs and cats form bonds with their humans, this is the first book that I ever read about the strong bonds elephants can form. The bull elephant in the herd named Mnumzane grew very close to Lawrence. Every time Lawrence would drive by in his Landrover, Mnumzane would come out to greet him and stand in front of his vehicle while Lawrence rubbed Mnumzane’s trunk and they “talked”. Mnumzane wouldn’t move out of the way until he was ready for Lawrence to leave.

In 2012 Lawrence died of a heart attack. His wife was devastated, but she received a huge surprise after Lawrence died. Two of the elephant herds that Lawrence had saved found their way to his home. They stayed around the house for 2 days mourning the death of their friend.

God gave us such amazing animals, take a journey with Lawrence and get to know this special herd of elephants,  you won’t regret it!

 

 

 

Forever and Always!

My “baby” is a Senior, graduation day would have been this coming Friday, but ….  like graduations across the US, COVID-19 has prevented them from happening. COVID can’t keep this Mom from being sentimental though. So if you need a break from the pandemic craziness and want to take a walk on the sentimental side, enjoy this short video clip of a book that I read to my children countless times.

The memory of this book  came to me as I was thinking  of him graduating and remembering when I took him for Kindergarten registration. I felt so proud as he sat politely and answered the questions and showed what numbers and colors he knew. Then we got up and said goodbye and started walking out of the room when he turned around and looked at the 2 teachers at the registration table and said, “Just so you know… I am NOT going to kindergarten, I am staying home. Turned around and started walking away as I now was left with a touch of redness in my face. Oh how the years have have flown, he did go to kindergarten and has excelled in school and I couldn’t be more proud!

 

 

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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