Thursday, July 17, 2014

- Parakaleo -: "Jacob's Turning 4" by Guest Blogger Shona Baselic...

- Parakaleo -: "Jacob's Turning 4" by Guest Blogger Shona Baselic...: In just a few days our youngest son will turn four and where excitement should be there is sadness.  I thought we’d be further along in thi...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

LIFE TO THE FULLEST: Remember Who You Are

The cure for the "woe is me."

LIFE TO THE FULLEST: Remember Who You Are: Last week was just one of those weeks.  It started off well but went rapidly downhill.  On Monday, Jason and I took the dogs on a very ple...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Blind and Deaf Adventures with LeeAnn: A Very Different Story

Blind and Deaf Adventures with LeeAnn: A Very Different Story: I have known LeeAnn since February 1965 when my parents brought her home from the hospital. You see, she's my little sister. None of u...

This is a great new blog. I hope you'll follow!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street Featured Tonight

My book, Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street, will be one of the books featured tonight on Thirsty Thursday at Helping Hands. The fun begins at 8:00 PM EST.

Most people looked forward to the dawning of the new millennium. For Colin O’Donnell, Christmas 2000 holds no anticipation until he learns Ma expects a visit from Joy, an adored cousin who disappeared on the girl’s sixteenth birthday. Why does she decide to visit Ma after all these years? The day Colin’s father left, Ma clutched Joy’s photograph as if it were a lifeline. Colin suspects the two disappearances are somehow connected although they occurred decades apart. Perhaps Joy’s visit will bring answers to years-old daunting questions. First, however, Colin must wrestle with a current mystery. What did he do to drive his wife from their bed? When all is revealed and the past and present collide, will Colin fight to preserve his marriage or follow his father’s path of abandonment?

When Real Life Becomes Fiction

My cousin and I were close growing up in Syracuse, New York area.  I spent a lot of time at her house, and she often came and stayed with me.  She had two older brothers and one younger. I remember the older boys and how mischievous they loved to be. The younger brother hung out with us girls, taking walks, going to the old swimming hole to swim.  When we had family events at Grandma’s house, the cousins played basketball while the grownups played cards.

I graduated high school and went on to college. I married and moved hundreds of miles away. My cousin married as well and had a couple of kids. We both divorced. I remarried, and she now has a companion who has been by her side for years, a good fatherly role model for her girls and now her grandchildren.  Life and circumstances caused us to drift apart. But whenever we’re together we reminisce about those wonderful years.

I often wondered how sad that we drifted apart. 

Not due to any rift, but the sheer busyness of life. The seeds of a novel took place. I imagined two cousins who were like sisters, practically raised together. I asked myself, “What life events might cause these two girls to become estranged. Then, I pondered the life events that might help them reconcile decades later.

How different would these lives become? How would the rift impact the rest of their development and young adult experiences? How would the rift shape the rest of their lives?  Their families?

And so Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street was birthed.

Many revisions later, the story now takes place Christmas 2000, set at the new millennium in the Adirondack Mountains. Christmas is a time for reunion, for healing, and forgiveness. No matter how many decades separate a friendship. 

While the time frame for Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street is Christmas, it is a warm and inviting read all year around. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Weight Loss Journey #11

  Total Weight Loss 23 lbs.

I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I last wrote about this journey. No I haven’t given up. Although sometimes, I feel like I’m going nowhere.  

It is a slow process to be sure. But I have gone down another dress size. So celebration in that. Plus I’m doing a solid half hour- to 45 minutes workout on the Just Sweat (Wii) every morning. It’s equivalent to a forty-minute jog. My plan is to start jogging for real soon. I also want to get a bicycle. WW recommends mixing up the exercise. Guess the body gets bored with the same old, same old, too, and just doesn't want to shed the weight. 

Besides, I wake up with those songs rattling in my head!

I throw in the walking around the store, housework and doing the Wii Golf or Wii Bowling. Sometimes I go for a walk. 

I’ve discovered I have a Vitamin B12 deficiency which was the reason I felt so fatigued and “foggy,” I have to have shots once a week for nine weeks and then probably once a month if my levels come back up. Otherwise, I’m really in good health. Don’t know what caused the problem…but doc says it’s probably auto-immune related.

At the end of the month we talked about what keeps us going. For some in was the positive results: feeling better, looking better, more energy. We also talked about how much easier it was to remain active in warmer weather. One reason I’m glad I moved to Florida.

Gurus also suggest that with increased activity don’t simply add on a lot of extra food…rather go for more protein in your weekly counts. I can do that. I crave protein a lot. Also with increased activity one should drink more fluids. It seems that the more good you do for yourself, for your health and well-being, the more you need to continue and do even more.

On April 9th meeting we talked about how to determine if an indulgence is worth cashing in our extra points.  Asking ourselves, “Is it worth it?” I am learning to apply a ten minute rule when I feel a craving. I try to distract myself with something else. If I still think I want it after ten minutes, perhaps I should.

The wonder of Weight Watchers is that all things are permissible but not all things are expedient. It’s okay to enjoy good and tasty things. So what techniques to we need to develop to have our cake and eat it too?

Take smaller portions of desired items. For some, though, this might prove dangerous. Like a Lay Potato Chip…can’t eat just one. Since I began this journey, though, I am amazed at how much smaller my portions are on everything. How I can get by with so much less and feel satisfied.

Through the last several months God has given me scriptures to remind me that this is more than a physical journey. My being overweight, for me, is a realization that I have not trusted God completely. My prayer is that I will seek less comfort from indulgences and more comfort from the Lord who loves me, and wants all things to work together for my good. 

Philippians 3:14

 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Luke 14:28

New King James Version (NKJV)
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it

Hebrews 12:1

New King James Version (NKJV)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...
My writing article on Southern Writers blog may be of interest to some so posting link here.

What can writers learn from ‪#‎Downtonabbey‬? My article in Southern Writers Blog. Would love to hear your comments. Part 1 yesterday...Part II on Monday.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Guest Author Kathlryn J. Bain

Hairy Situation

            I’ve noticed this past month that my hair seems to have grown drastically. I usually get it cut around the first of February. However, with the cold lasting longer than necessary (hint, hint, God), I’ve put off getting it cut.
            I’m also not sure this year what color I should go with. In my lifetime, I’ve been a blonde, redhead, dark brown, dark blonde, and now just a mixture of brown and gray. It seems as we age, our styles change each decade.
            For instance, the following is how men seem to wear their hair as they get older:
Age 30: Brown, almost black
Age 40: Slight graying at the temples, looks distinguished
Age 50: Going more gray, but starting to lose some
Age 60: Outgrowing your hair, the crown of your head showing
Age 70: Combing it over to try to hide the fact you’re bald on top
Age 80: What’s the use? You now have more hair in your ears than on your head
Then there are the women:
Age 30: Blonde
Age 40: Light brown
Age 50: Dark brown to hide the gray
Age 60: Gray mixed with brown
Age 70: Let the gray show, and is it getting thin up there?
Age 80: Blue tinted white hair that needs to be styled each week at J.C. Penney’s.

            I don’t think I’ll ever go blue, though in my twenties I did consider coloring a pink stripe on the side of my head. I never fulfilled that fantasy. Maybe when I’m old and eccentric. It might be around the same time I start to draw on my eyebrows so I look constantly surprised.
I’m in my fifties now and do seem to be following the crowd by going darker to hide the gray.
            But if it worked for all those other generations, who am I to argue. Excuse me while I place a call in to my stylist.

 Kathryn J. Bain began writing more than twelve years ago. Her fifth book, Beautiful Imperfection, will be available September 29, 2013. She is the former President of Florida Sisters in Crime and is currently the Public Relations Director for Ancient City Romance Authors. To survive and pay bills, she has been a paralegal for over twenty years and works for an attorney who specializes in elder law. She has two daughters and a dog named Gretchen. Her first grandchild, Hope was born in May, 2013. Kathryn grew up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. In 1981, she moved to Boise, but it apparently wasn't far enough south, because two years later she headed to Jacksonville, Florida and has lived in the sunshine ever since.  Find out more about her work at

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Where You Are

By Darlene Dana Drew

I want to be where you are.
Because I know wherever that is
There is music, stories and laughter.
And there is wisdom.
Oh, not from books and universities
But gained through hard times and
Acceptance of one’s frailties.

For how foolish is the one who looks
In the mirror daily and says “I am perfect.”
How far he has missed the mark.

Where you are, there is generosity.
Of both opinion and pocketbook.
You gave of both and held no animosity
If you got nothing in return.

And where you are, there is integrity.
A word fast disappearing with a certain generation.

And there is deep love of family, pride in friendships
And humility.

So I will wait, ‘til I can be where you are.  

Not knowing, when or where we will meet again.
Only certain that it will be a warmer, brighter place
For your passing.

And most of all, I am certain that wherever
It is… it will be my paradise…

For I will be where you are.

Last week I posted Darlene's article, an honest look at her grieving. Here is a poem she wrote during her healing process. 
How have you used your writing to heal? 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Second Hand Glows


Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3: 5 – 6 NIV).

 “Oh, I never go see a movie,” Jane said. “They are way too expensive. I just let my friends tell me what happened. That’s just as good, isn’t it?”

That makes about as much sense as losing weight by listening to how much exercise our friends do. We only truly understand and appreciate an event by first hand experience.

          We want to glean information the same way. Through the work and research of others.

            With so much information at our fingertips, we want to be in control of our decisions. That is good consumerism. However, assimilation of knowledge will not make us doctors or lawyers anymore than staying in one of those smart hotels.

When Mindy had a pain in her abdomen, she visited a medical website, entered her symptoms and discovered she could have anything from a stomach flu to terminal cancer. When she finally consulted an expert, her doctor put her on a high fiber diet for chronic constipation and the symptoms cleared.

Unfortunately, we approach our spiritual life in much the same way as our search for knowledge. Through second hand resources.

Sheila Walsh says in Women of Faith Devotional Bible, “I think we Christians have become lazy. We would rather read a book about him or how someone else became closer to God than spend time alone with him ourselves. We would rather listen to someone else’s interpretation of the Word of God than read it for ourselves. And yet we alone are accountable for what we believe.”

We rob ourselves of intimacy with God because we stop short with our knowledge about God.

 He has given us his Word, the power of prayer, and His very presence to lead us into a relationship with Him. 

Why then do we persist in secondhand Christianity?  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I Am Grieving

By Darlene Dana Drew

           I thought I was just fine. Oh, I knew “they” said there were stages of grief. But I was stronger than that. I mean, after my husband died January 30th, I was fine. I never realized that what I mistook for strength was just plain numbness. I was in the first stage of grief and didn’t even know it.

          So now, I am angry. Yea, another stage. Half of the time I don’t believe he’s even gone and the other half I’m a puddle of tears. I talk to him, reminding him he told me he wouldn’t leave me…and then I cry. And maybe in the next few moments I am planning physical changes to the house and yard and even myself….and telling myself “Neil will love this”. And so it goes.

          One of the hardest things for me to accept is my own humanness. I wasn’t going to be one of those grieving widows. Hell no! I was strong and had faith and had been so self-reliant all my life! Hey, this grieving thing wasn’t all that people had warned me about.

         No, it was more. Much more. It was deeper, broader, more pervasive. It haunted the sunniest days in the garden and cropped up in what at first seemed liked the most benign dreams at night. It twisted those dreams into terrible arguments with the living and the long dead, leaving me exhausted every morning. Yea. I was stronger than grief. And you’re probably thinking the exact same thing. And when you finally step onto the grief escalator, you will be shocked at the parts of yourself that will be revealed.

         I was surprised at my own frailty. Didn’t I believe in God? Didn’t I pray and thank Him regularly for every aspect of my life? So why am I hurting ? Why this heavy cloak weighing down my every footstep? What is wrong with me?

         Nothing is wrong. I am grieving. God made me. And when He did, He also created the healing process. He left the wound to heal in the only way deep wounds heal best. From the inside out. No bandaid to just cover up the unsightly injury. No cosmetic application to mask the fissure underneath. No temporary stitches to close off the gaping hole in the heart. He knew that to be truly healed, it would take time, and patience and might even mean I would have to lean heavily upon Him. In fact He hoped I would.

         So now I pray for other things. I no longer ask that the pain just go away. I don’t ask for fewer tears and more restful sleep and lots of distractions. I ask for one thing only. Patience. Patience with myself. Let me accept that I am only flesh. Let me always know that although I may have a lot of inner strength. I am not God. But rather that I need God. And let my prayer be only three words every time I am overwhelmed, or on the brink of feeling lost, “Lord, help me”.

Darlene writes poetry and plays. Her recent loss has swept over her and she has used her writing talents to help heal. 

Have you written just to write? Just to use your words to praise, to reflect to rejoice?