Thursday, October 19, 2017

products I love ...

I finally finished reading where i end by Katherine Clark!  You will have to wait until January 2018 to get it when it is finally published, but if you are looking for an encouraging and inspiring memoir, you won't be disappointed.

Katherine is a young, active mother of two children, and one afternoon at her son's school she is hit by a child jumping off one of the large playground items. Her neck is broken, she is instantly paralyzed and her life changes forever.  Telling her story, all the humiliating, humble bits and pieces of it, Katherine shares her amazing recovery.

I was brought to tears and laughter, and inspired by her will to live a life better than the one the doctors said she would have after her injury.

~*~
So here is probably one of those TMI (too much information) moments about me ... I once suffered horrible ulcerative colitis brought on my internalized stress while I was living with my abuser (my divorce was an amazing healing process in more ways than one).  Since then, I occasionally have bouts of irritable and stress-sensitive "issues."  'Nuff said about that.

But almost a month ago, I received a free box of Culturelle Pro-Well Probiotics to try.  I have been amazed at the difference in how I feel since starting the capsules!  Not just physically, but just in my overall health.  I'm losing weight (YAY!!!), sleeping better, and no longer have the discomfort and panic of trying to be close to a restroom 30 minutes after eating.

I've always known that eating yogurt was good bacteria for my innards, but I don't always remember to buy it when shopping, and honestly keep forgetting that I have it when I do buy it.  Now I take one capsule at night before I go to sleep (no, it will not make you drowsy ~ it's just when I take all my meds) and let those little buggers do their thing while I'm dreaming of rainbows, puppies, kittens and ducklings. (and that is an entirely different subject to blog about another time!)

*~*
links are affiliates ~ thank you!
I know.  You are tired of me going on and on about how thrilled I am to have found Jade Bloom Essential Oils and their awesome University.

But look at this!!!!  My October Collector's Club Gold Bag (for an affordable $18.95) had two amazing oils in it that would have cost me almost $100 if I had purchased them on their own! 

Jade Bloom University explains how different oils are made (super fascinating!) and how to use them.  For me, understanding how they are made and the best and safest ways to use them was what sealed the deal for me.  I knew aromatherapy was a great tool to use in physical and mental health, having studied it years ago, but there was a lot that 'book-learnin' just doesn't cover.  The University is free ~ in fact, you get paid to learn because you earn free oils in the process!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wednesday's Words ...

Hayden watched the shadow of the tree outside his window on his bedroom wall as the lightning flashed.  He counted the seconds between the flash and the thunder as his dad had taught him before he died.  Thunderstorms used to give him nightmares when he was younger, often causing his asthma to get worse.  Counting helped him to stay calm, and it gave him courage after his dad had died.

After his father's funeral, several of the children he went to school with had come up to him in the recess yard the first day he had gone back to school.  His friends had stood in front of him as the other boys and girls teased him about his father getting eaten by the boogyman.  Hayden hadn't said a word and a teacher had finally come over to see what was going on.  Parents had been called to the principal's office and letters sent home with the warning that if there were a recurrence of the bullying, there would be expulsions with no further warnings.

After that day, he had mostly kept to himself, choosing to go to the library rather than out to recess.  His friends told him he shouldn't hide in there, that it just made the bullies think they had won.  But Hayden didn't care.  He missed his father, and in the library, he could pretend the rows and rows of books were magical tunnels that would lead his father back home if he just wished hard and long enough.

At the harvest festival, after his dad was gone, Hayden had been frightened by a clown that had popped a bright red balloon behind him.  The clown had laughed when Hayden jumped, spilling his popcorn into the water at the apple bobbing tent.  His mother had shooed the clown away with an angry word and bought him a new bag of popcorn, but they had gone home when he hadn't wanted to let go of her hand long enough to get on any of the rides, even the ponies that he usually loved.

Lightning lit up his bedroom again, bright enough to momentarily distort his vision, followed by a crack of thunder that didn't give him any time to count.  His ears were still ringing when another flash made the shadow of the tree on his wall appear to have some kind of bear sitting on the limb.  As he blinked, trying to adjust to the sudden darkness and flashes of blinding light, the shadow moved back and forth, closer and closer until it seemed as if it was in his room with him.

"Mommy!"

She could barely hear his scream over the crash of continuous thunder as the storm reached its strength.  Racing to the top of the stairs, calling his name as she reached for the door handle, she suddenly realized that she wasn't alone in the hallway.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Words for Wednesday 18 October 17 ~ the prompts ...

Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. I joined in when Elephant's Child was hosting the prompts. This month I will be hosting.

Essentially the goal is to encourage us to write. Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image. What we do with those prompts is up to us: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating ignoring them. We can use some or all of the prompts.

Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog. It would be wonderful if as many people as possible joined into this creative exercise. If you are posting on your own blog - please share the link to your blog post in the comments below so that we can come enjoy and applaud.


Keeping with October's theme, the words this week are taken from Stephen King's It.  

I read most of King's early works, but when Needful Things made me upset over the way he killed a dog, and Insomnia touched on child molestation, Rose Madder was too close to home as I was in an abusive marriage, I stopped reading his books.  Of all his books, The Stand is my ultimate favorite, and when I left my abuser, it was the only book of King's that I took with me.

1. Clown
And your image to use [Image Source]
2. Tunnels
3. Children
4. Nightmares
5. Water
6. Friends

and/or

1. Visions
2. Red
3. Courage
4. Asthma
5. Recurrence
6. Hide

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wednesday's Words ...

She paced the living room floor, trying to fight off the melancholy fog of grief that threatened to overtake her. The violent storm outside caused the electricity to go off once again, and as she stood in the darkness, she remembered the first storm they had shared when they were dating.

His kiss had caught her by surprise since the room was so dark she couldn't see him at all. He had whispered to her that he had memorized her face before the lights had gone out, and she had laughed, amused and amazed at his outrageous love for her. The sensations of his touch on her skin after that first kiss still lingered, even now, a year after his murder by some savage beast in the ravine behind their house.

Her family couldn't understand why she had stayed in the house after that.  But it had been their house and each room held a memory of them together.  Painting walls that turned into giddy splatter wars, and writing "i love you" on the walls.  Hours spent sanding down the wood floors, and the time they had found themselves cornered by wet sealant when they hadn't thought to work towards the door.  They had spent the night sleeping curled up in each other's arms, until the floor was dry enough to tip toe out of the room.  Even now she could still see their toe prints faintly on the floor.

When she had gotten pregnant, they had been over the moon with excitement.  They spent hours refinishing the room next to theirs for the nursery, arguing over names with each paint stroke, and each sanded board. They hadn't wanted to know the sex of the child before birth, and had finally chosen a first name that could be appropriate for either gender.  They had agreed upon middle names using their grandparents names which would seal the gender.  When their son was born, he had glowed for days with happiness and had driven her almost crazy by catering to her every need instantly.

Now, six years later and a year after his father's death, his face reminded her of him.  Each time she heard him running down the stairs to greet her in the morning, her heart skipped a beat. There had been so much joy in that house, and she knew that she had to remain strong for their son.

The phone rang unexpectedly, startling her in the darkness, and as she stumbled over a chair the lights came back on.  Gasping in pain from the fall, she answered the phone.

"Hello?"

"Hello! This is Detective Frank Enstein.  I wanted to let you know that we finally got the results back from the laboratory on the saliva found on your husband's wounds."

"What? It has been a year.  I didn't even realize that the case was still open.  I thought that you had determined it was some kind of animal?"

"Well, yes, that was our preliminary conclusion, but there was something about the saliva that the lab wanted to look into further.  They found a connection to several much older unsolved murder cases."

"What does that mean? It wasn't an animal?  Are we in danger?"

"We're not sure.  We're sending equestrian and K9 teams out in the morning to search the ravine behind your house."

"What are they looking for?"

"About 60 years ago, there were a series of five murders on the outskirts of town.  It was long before there was even any thought about DNA, especially in these rural areas, but one young police officer, my dad in fact, thought that he should preserve some of the evidence somehow.  He managed to seal some of the clothing that had blood and saliva on it into glass jars that sat in a box in the lab closet.  One of the older techs remembered something his parents had talked about in hush-hush tones at night, and how when he was a kid they had all been told to stay away from the ravine.  I found my dad's file of his personal notes from the cases, and asked the lab if they had the box was still there.  When they found it, they managed to extract a small amount of DNA from some of the fibers to test."

"And?"

"Well, it turned out to be a match.  An exact match actually."

"So what happened in these other cases?"

"They just had old black and white pictures and pencil sketches in the files that had mostly faded from age, but some of them were pretty gruesome looking.  Not only did they kill the men, but in once case where they had broken into a barn chasing a man, they had killed a cow and a pig.  Dad had penciled 'like a slaughterhouse' in the margin of his notes."

"And you think this thing, or person, is still out there after all these years? Haven't you watched too many X-Files episodes?"

"I know it sounds crazy, but not as crazy as the DNA matching was.  If it is the same person, it could be the start of another series of murders.  We've had inquiries from the county on the other side of the ravine about some missing hikers, but nobody made the connection until now."

"Is my son in danger?"

"I honestly don't know, but if you have a gun in the house, I think you should keep it close to you, and stay close to your son until we get this sorted out.  I can send an officer out if you want to just keep an eye on things if you'd like."

"I don't have a gun, and I would appreciate it if you could send someone.  I'm worried now."

"I'll have someone out there in the next ten minutes, but in the meantime, just keep the house locked up and the curtains closed.  I'll call you as soon as the officer is there so you know who it is."

"Thank you so much.  I really appreciate it."

Hanging up the phone, she limped around to make sure the downstairs doors and windows were all locked, and the drapes all pulled tightly shut before going upstairs to check on her son and pull his curtains closed.  As she slowly went up the steps, she paused as she heard a noise from the stairs above her ...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Words for Wednesday 11 October 17 ~ the prompts ...

Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. I joined in when Elephant's Child was hosting the prompts. This month I will be hosting.

Essentially the goal is to encourage us to write. Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image. What we do with those prompts is up to us: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating ignoring them. We can use some or all of the prompts.

Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog. It would be wonderful if as many people as possible joined into this creative exercise. If you are posting on your own blog - please share the link to your blog post in the comments below so that we can come enjoy and applaud.


This week, the words are from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

I've not read Frankenstein, but I think that what she accomplished in writing and publishing a novel such as this in 1818 was an amazing feat for a woman who was once thought to be unworthy of educating.  Reading her biography, and knowing my own demons that I put to paper, I have to wonder how much of Frankenstein comes from growing up motherless, and the deaths of her children, sister, and husband. Perhaps she daydreamed of what life would have been like if she'd been able to bring them back to life?
And the image for inspiration ... [Image Source]

1. Electricity
2. Grief
3. Laboratory
4. Slaughterhouse
5. Kiss
6. Amuse

and/or

1. Melancholy
2. Murder
3. Ravine
4. Laugh
5. Sensations
6. Violent

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Words on Wednesday ...

Image Source: WeHeartIt.com
The beast perched on a branch in the tree closest to the child's window on the second floor.  In the darkness, it could see farther into the room than the occupants were aware.  The wind picked up, howling sorrowfully in the trees, as the fall leaves fluttered to the wrap-around patio, rustling against the door.

A dog, forgotten in the neighbor's yard with the approaching storm, whined as it caught the scent of the beast on the wind. It pulled on the chain that kept it in the yard, not wanting to get closer to the beast, but farther away.  The chain remained unbroken, rattling loudly each time the dog relented as it pulled harder and harder to escape.

Unexpectedly, the light in the room the beast was watching came on, nearly blinding the beast with the brightness of it. Grimly it watched as the young soul bounded into the room and onto the bed.  It feared the monsters under the bed, not the one watching ominously outside the window.

The beast sniffed the air again, smelling the freshness of the soul, the innocence unprepared for the disaster that awaited it ...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Words for Wednesday 4 October 17 ~ the prompts ...

Words for Wednesday is provided by a number of people and has become a movable feast. I joined in when Elephant's Child was hosting the prompts. This month I will be hosting.

Essentially the goal is to encourage us to write. Each week we are given a choice of prompts: which can be words, phrases, music or an image. What we do with those prompts is up to us: a short story, prose, a song, a poem, or treating ignoring them. We can use some or all of the prompts.

Some of us put our creation in comments on the post, and others post on their own blog. It would be wonderful if as many people as possible joined into this creative exercise. If you are posting on your own blog - please share the link to your blog post in the comments below so that we can come enjoy and applaud.


This being October, I thought I would offer up prompt words and pictures appropriate to the season. This week, I'm selecting the words from The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.

And your image to write about or include
I have an affinity for ravens, and their place in many Native American legends and myths. However, in reading The Raven it is so apparant that it was never intended to be a horror poem, but instead, a love letter.

1. Forgotten
2. Sorrow
3. Rustling
4. Darkness
5. Unbroken
6. Window

and/or

1. Perched
2. Grim
3. Beast
4. Soul
5. Disaster
6. Ominous

Thursday, September 28, 2017

a month of Wednesday's Words ...

[I have been absent, but not completely ignorant of the words and actions of the world (sadly).  I'm joining (finally) this last Thursday in September for the witty words that have been provided by Granny Annie all month.  In October, the words and pictures will appear here on Tuesdays for those in the Southern Hemisphere.  Which reminds me of a wonderful picture I saw once for those end-of-the-world doomsday preppers ... "Keep Calm and Remember ... It is Already Tomorrow in Australia!"]


I know. I know. I’ve been gone for a while. I took an arbitrary absence. A diminution in my writing. I have no plausible excuse, just an immense sense of being overwhelmed. It has caused me to temporize everything lately, which has only served to create more pandemonium in my garbled thought processes.

I wish I had the élan of other writers who can produce perfunctory ghost-written articles for income. But I am not able to bifurcate my desire for toothsome writing with what sometimes reads like vermicular spew. I have an edacious desire for words that fill me like wine in a crucible. To write meaninglessly is gauche. The resulting melee between my values and my wallet festers with an inhere greed that I cannot submit to.

The bona fides work of an author should be without question. Subjecting readers to anything less would make one a schadenfreude of a chthonic region. So, I submit myself to a regimen of splenetic work until the manumit of this onerous life, looking at meme of angry cats for entertainment, occasionally with a yawp of copacetic laughter.

If there were only a savant writer who could advise me. One who would not look at me with one arm akimbo, as though to wreak posture in a haphazard fashion. As if I were a tare set to vindicate my inability to write.

My dream of becoming a best-selling author is flat-hatting away from me. It is true I construed it was my inalienable destiny as the dithyramb of my sleep prodded me awake night after night like a sericeous mouse dropped in my bed by a ludic kitten. My fidelity to that dream makes no difference if I find myself becoming a poltroon.

No! It shall not happen. Instead, I repudiate the turpitude of those thoughts, and choose to assay the direction of my next book in the solitude of the autumn bosky before the winter snows fall and imprison me.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Products I love ...

(click on photos to enlarge them)

I recently received my first Collector's Club Gold Bag from Jade Bloom. I was amazed and thrilled at the product included in this $18.95 monthly surprise package.  When I added up the cost to have ordered each of these, I could have easily spent $50!
Included in my first gold bag: an AromaWave Essential Oil diffuser for the car, two oil blends (Citrus and Namaste), and replacement diffuser pads.
What I love (love Love LOVE) the most about this company, is the fact that they offer up to 8 free oils as you learn about essential oils.  (and I confess to having been an essential oil newbie ~ I'm still learning about oils, blends, and their use ~ but Jade Bloom is an incredible resource!)
I'm using two other blends in the car because of how stressful our lives are right now.  Well-Being helps with anxiety and boosting confidence, and Alleviate helps with relieving our tension headaches.
(links are affiliate links, and thank you in advance!)

Several weeks ago I received two pre-publication books for review.
 (longer ago than I should admit actually since my reviews were due months ago, but moving got in the way and the books were packed into boxes I just recently found)

"Follow the Cloud" by John Stickl has been an aHa! read for me so far with pages and pages of underlined and highlighted paragraphs as I've poured over his words.  At the end of each chapter has been questions designed to dig deeper into what I know and need.  This will be a book I read again and again, especially in times when I feel lost.

"Where i end" by Katherine Elizabeth Clark will come out in January with Moody Publishers has been a heart-wrenching but inspiring read so far, and I can't wait to share with you my final thoughts when I finish it.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Words from Wednesday

I'm joining again with fellow creative bloggers down under, up here and over there. Words this month have been provided by River at Drifting Through Life.  Next month's words will be found at Granny Annie's spot

"I wasn't ready for another dog!" she whispered as tears rolled down the sides of her face and into her ears. Pulling her t-shirt up over her face, she tried to dry out her ears and sat up on the sofa.  It had been seven months (2 weeks, 4 days, and 10 hours, but she really wasn't counting) since her soul-dog had died unexpectedly in her arms, and there still wasn't a night that went by that she didn't catch her breath and cry under the covers, her pillow muffling her sobs.

But there he was, at the other end of the sofa, looking as if he understood he wasn't wanted.  It was something he was familiar with, although he didn't understand it completely.  He really was a complaisant dog, there were sometimes just extenuating circumstances.

His first home had too many small children that wanted to pull on his fur. After one such torturous afternoon of bedevilment, he had reacted with a snap at some clutching little fingers.  The child jumped and fell backward with a "splat" sound from their very full diaper.  He went to a shelter that very day.

The shelter had been frightening and loud, with each dog barking in competition to get the attention of the people that would sometimes walk by.  He hadn't known what to do at first, he was so traumatized by the noise and sudden change in his environment.  He huddled in the far back of his kennel, where he could hear the rain dripping from the eaves outside at night.  It was cold in the small building where he stayed in a narrow run between two larger, and meaner, dogs.  At night he shivered, whining and sometimes howling in fear and loneliness.

One afternoon, two nuns came into the shelter. They were seeking a companionship dog for an elderly nun who had recently been ill and was now living at an institute for retired and disabled clergy men and women.  As all the dogs barked and howled, jumping at the gates to get their attention, he instead had stood in the center of the kennel, unsure of whether or not he wanted to approach the women.  One of them knelt down and tried to get him to come to the gate, but she smelled of illness, so he backed away from her and curled up in the corner with his back to the gate.

The next day a man came to the shelter. He was looking for a small dog that didn't shed much.  He had researched breeds on his computer and had heard that there was a Shih Tzu at the shelter.  

The man picked him up and looked at him.  "He'll do," he said, before paying the fee and carrying him out the door.  He didn't care what it cost, or whether or not it was friendly.  He just wanted something low maintenance so that his children would stop whining about wanting a dog since his wife had walked out on all of them.

They called him Charlie. The shelter said it had been his name before, and they thought he was about a year and a half old. As time passed, Charlie began to wonder if he wouldn't have been better off staying at the shelter.  The man would go out of town on business for several days at a time, leaving the children to take care of him. But they would all go their separate ways, to friends' houses or older siblings.  He sometimes went several days without seeing anyone, or without getting any food, water or walks.  He learned to limit how much water he drank because it became too uncomfortable to hold it, and when the man came home and found places where he had been forced to go to the bathroom, he would yell and punish Charlie.  He would howl at all hours of the day from loneliness and fear that he would be left alone forever.  

Sometimes when the man was home, the children would bring friends over and Charlie was never sure who was going to treat him nicely, or push him away.  He became afraid of strangers, and one time he even snapped at one of the children when they roughly pushed him away. He was punished by the man but wasn't taken back to the shelter.  Charlie almost wished he had been.

One day some people moved into the basement. After a while, the man went away on business again and all the children went to their friends' houses.  Charlie got hungry and lonely and started howling. Unexpectedly, he heard a voice in the back door hallway talking to him. He growled and barked, but didn't go close enough for the voice to see him.  Suddenly, a little piece of hot dog rolled across the floor, then another, and another.  He waited until the voice went away and he heard the door to the basement close before he went out to eat them.

Every night that the man was gone and the children didn't come home to feed or walk him, the voice would talk to him when he started to howl. There would be treats, or hot dogs, or some other concoction of food tossed over the pet gate that divided them.  He would wait until he heard the voice leave before he ate.

One week there was a great deal of turmoil in the house. The man was putting things in boxes, and the children were crying. Charlie didn't understand what was going on except that he heard his name mentioned a few times when the man talked on the phone or to the children's friends.  Finally, the man carried him to the basement door and knocked.  He heard the voice ask who it was, and the man said it was him and he had a favor to ask.  Could they watch Charlie for a few weeks until things got sorted out?  The man was moving far away, and the children were either staying with older siblings or their mother and couldn't take Charlie.  He would pay them.

The door opened, and for the first time, Charlie saw who the voice belonged to.  It was a woman who looked sad and lonely just like Charlie.  She reached out her arms and took him, and said that as long as it was temporary, they could watch him.  Charlie growled a little as she held him, and she whispered in his ear, "Shhh. It's okay. You won't get hurt here, you won't be left alone, and you won't ever be hungry."

Now the two of them watched TV together, went for walks, and snuggled at night.  The man never called or came back for Charlie, and Charlie didn't miss him or the children at all.  She might not have thought she was ready for another dog when they met, but she was, and Charlie knew that they were meant to be together.