Friday, January 31, 2014

February Follow Up

February Follow Up
Mollie Lyon

January weeks galloped by
In lethargy, I watched them fly
Goals made
diminished by
Frigid temps.

Sunshine brightness grows.
Snow rollers brought laughter,
God knows.
Time for February
Follow up on those plans.
Which one lands?
Can I recover the steam
of a December thirty first dream?
Yes, I know I can.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Weather Wednesday

Picture from the Buhl Farm Park Facebook page. My phone couldn't have functioned in our negative degree weather. That's Fahrenheit for my non American readers.
The snow rollers have appeared everywhere and when I saw them, I laughed. I have a single one in my back yard with little paw prints going to it and then to the neighbors. The snow rollers are perfect. I love to see the sun shine through some of them.
From C.S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength:
"'We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It's a useful taste if one lives in England.'
'How ever did you learn to do that, Mr. Denniston?' said Jane. 'I don't think I should ever learn to like rain and snow.'
'It's the other way round,' said Denniston. 'Everyone begins as a child liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Haven't you ever noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children -and the dogs? They know what snow is made for.'"
God does, too. I worship God for His playfulness.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Teddy Tuesday

From Teddy's Law Facebook page posted on Sunday 1/26:

One year ago today I received a call no father ever wants to get. My son had passed away. Something that I have never talked about was the fact that I talked to Teddy's mother a couple of days before this. She told me he had a stroke and he hit his head on the bath tub. And when the doctors did test his heart was on the wrong side of his body. I begged to see Teddy at the hospital but she had privacy blocked me. I wasn't the perfect father. And many of times on here I have stated that. I never got a visitation order due to financial reasons. I called the hospital numerous times to see him and never received a call back. Towards the end of me and Shain's conversation she said these words I will never forget. " I will be taking Ted of life support and will have him cremated soon after". When I got off the phone I immediately called the police. If it was not for the quick actions of me and her family them two monsters would have gotten away with murder.
Today we will reflect on Teddy's life. He touched so many lives in his short time here. He continues to be a beacon of hope in children's lives and we will continue to spread the word of Teddy's story to others to create awareness to other children. We will also fight to strengthen the laws which do not protect children but the child abuser. Today we remember you Teddy. Today is your day. And it always will be. May you rest in peace with The Lord. I love you more than you will ever know. I'm sorry you had to go through this. But we find comfort in knowing you are safe from evil.

God Bless

Shawn Tedesco and Team Teddy.

Monday, January 27, 2014


Sorry for the hiatus I took. Not sure if it is the brutal cold weather or again just being at that age in womanhood as the body makes those changes unseen, but truly felt, the lack of energy stalls me. Ideas are coming again, but alas, so does getting ready for work. I look at ten degree weather and snow squalls with disapproving eye. The bones weaken. The mind is dull.
Tomorrow, back to Teddy Tuesday and Wednesday is Wordless. So, Thursday I return with writing. Working on poems and the last of Women's Looks that the thought demanded more than I had over the weekend.
So readers, hang on. I go through these phases and life weighs us all down at times. As you will see in my poems coming, I do not give up hope in not the coldest winter of my life.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Looking forward to Winterfest 2014. This is 2012.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Teddy Tuesday

10“Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father. _Matthew 18:10

A reminder today to be kind to all people, especially the children. Keep your eyes open to any abuse that may occur. They may be little, but they are great in our Father's eyes.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Women's Looks- Part Two

I didn't remark earlier on the Miley Cyrus performance on the MTV music awards with Robin Thicke. My reaction at that time was this is what those women, Gloria, Betty, Pasty fought for back in the 1960's and 1970's? You've come a long way, baby.

Girls are trying to get attention. They use what they have. Singing and talent need boosted by cone bras like Madonna many years ago. So as Solomon wrote even longer ago, "there is nothing new under the sun."
My heart does sink with the girls in rock today, not only for the whole morality issue, but that they feel they have to resort to shock for attention. I'm not per se a woman's libber, nor do I agree with everything these women before espoused. I do not think this is what women of that leadership envisioned for the forty year future.
So how do you see it? Have we come a long way, baby? Or are we still in sexual bondage?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Women's Looks- Part One

This post in no way is to be construed as political, although I see it will be. I think back when I was a young girl and the whole women's lib roared. Women burned their bras. I'm still not sure what that said. Most of the girls I knew couldn't wait to wear a bra. It meant we had matured. Now, we have Miley Cyrus and others. I'll talk about those fashions next time. We envisioned at that time, the women ahead of us did the fight. Fired up, they would break that glass ceiling, whatever that meant. We started to realize we could do anything, encouraged by the women older than us.
So Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique title floated around. Gloria Steinem posed angrily with her beautiful long hair, but no nonsense glasses, never losing her cool. Pat Schoeder fought unemotional George Will in National Public Radio debates. No one in the media mentioned their clothes or hair styles, although I did note Gloria's cool hair.
hillary time cover
Did the woman below fight for this kind of coverage forty years ago?
I have been disappointed since Hilary charged the scene back in 1991 with the hair band debate. She was only the wife, then, of a presidential candidate. She was of that generation ahead of me, that I looked to for that guidance in the women's arena. She hastily changed her hairstyle, lost that hair band. Stood by Bill with the Gennifer Flowers story, but it seemed fake to me. I wasn't even a conservative, then. Yet, I cringed every time now, the "liberal" media mentions if she wore a scrunchy. What kind of job is she doing? Who cares if she wears a scrunchy or goes bald? I guess
John Edwards' hair got that much attention, too.
The feminist issue has the same problem as the race issue. People are making strides, but until the media is sex blind and race blind, I feel we will make no progress. I still think Obama partly got elected due to his race. Oh, cool, the first black president.
I see that happening with Hilary Clinton- why did she drop her middle maiden name? Can we possibly elect the first woman president? Will that be partly why she is elected? And what color scrunchy will she wear on inauguration day?
We need to see women doing the work, again and not focus on hair styles, clothes or bags under their eyes- Greta are you listening? Until we are judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin (or hair tie), I'm afraid equality is a mirage.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Follower on Twitter

I opened up my Twitter account to find a new follower. I checked out her blog, immediately impressed. I commented on two of her posts that provoked thoughts.
I hope like some of the other Twitter friends this will grow into a friendship. I have written before about these new modern day pen pals. Yes, I risk losing privacy and problems from being "Out there." I am trusting it would seem. Gullible some may say. I have to live with openness.
Still, after almost two year of blogging, I hold back so much more than when I started. Fiction provides the honesty of some stories, the hurt or the joy. In fiction the mask of protection lives. Speculation in the story to the real person intrigues the reader. I know it does me when I read a fictional account of something local.
Last night, a woman who read Summer Triangle imagined some parts in West Middlesex. Others definitely knew I had set some of it in Buhl Farm Park, but not really. The hospital scenes in my mind flowed from several different hospitals, I've either worked or visited.
I give a bit of myself, but not all. I have to guard others who are more private. Not all want their fifteen minutes of fame. In this day and age, I really do have to be more careful. I grew up in a time and town where we slept with screen doors open in the summer, no problem finding car keys because they were left in the car, and every one watched every one. The joke being parents knew what you did before you came home. Part of me has learned to hide with that upbringing.
Yet, our home welcomed every one all the time. My husband grew up with that as well, my mother-in-law still practices hospitality at eighty eight years old. I welcome the new friends over the internet, maybe more than those who can see me day to day. Yet, my face tells on me. I have to be honest in person. My co-workers know my feelings.
I look forward to knowing more about my follower from Canada. I have enjoyed my friendship with Anita Mathias in Cambridge, England. I remarked once I would love to have a cup of tea with her and she replied, "Why not dinner?" I risk something when I reach out, but I risk more by not making friends. Jesus implored His followers to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. May I have that discernment in my social media life.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

A few years back. Hard to believe, close to fifty.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Teddy Tuesday

If Teddy's mom's boyfriend had a job, he would have had less time to abuse Teddy and his brothers. A man must work, at the risk of sounding sexist. They find purpose in life when they work. I am not saying a man can't be a stay at home dad or a woman has to stay home. Most of the abuse cases I read about are the boyfriends of the mothers. Men need to work.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

More Than a Living read this article last night. I had heard some of this before while I researched writing as I read To Kill a Mockingbird. A writer or artist may struggle with fame, yet being able to do what we love. To be loved so greatly that our works make a ton of money is a dream few achieve.
One book only though is all Harper Lee wrote. I asked Katie her senior year of high school, "Can you go a day without writing?" She looked at me like I had asked her to stop breathing. I have found I need to click my fingers against the keyboard every day or I get depressed. I started writing every day in 2000 as a goal to be a writer. A few years ago, the declaration, "I am a writer." instead of going to be a writer or want to be a writer, changed my life.
When I struggled with wanting to write as a living, against being on the road every day with home health, a glimpse of fame in fantasy would knock me awake. I could also be on a book tour promoting my recent work. I'd still be away from home, dealing with strange people. So part of me can understand that wanting to be isolated that Harper Lee answered in why she never wrote again.
Still nine thousand dollars a day could help me write every day without worry. I would want to keep writing I tell myself. At least until the David and Mary Thompson story was researched and written and published, then I would be happy. The Thompson story that prompted me on the pursuit of a writing career.  Would I find writer's block instead? Such a possibility, but since I'm hardly making any money writing right now, I don't have that worry.
No envy of Harper Lee here. I love the mapping of the journey, the travel and the highlights of publishing and royalty checks. I don't want to ever stop writing. If I ever could make nine thousand dollars a day, then living off ten percent like Rick Warren does would be a possibility.

Friday, January 10, 2014


We were Gilmored into Homeland, the first series. I think the more accurate phrase would be chose to be Gilmored. What is Gilmored? Gilmored is how my daughters and I explain watching a whole series in one day or for an extended stretch of time. The first time we did this was when one of Mellie's friends lent us her seven season series of The Gilmore Girls. First just the initial year, then it grew and grew. We loved the Gilmore Girls. Connecticut living was never like that for me, yet, I enjoyed thinking of my years there while I watched it.
We watched the first season of Homeland the other day. I noticed the weather. I noticed the inconsistencies in the weather. The characters would be in winter clothes, then the next scene, the next day, the leaves would be full. Weather is very important to me. As I write, I am aware of weather in my story. Weather is a character in my story. So I noticed the background. I think most of it was filmed in late fall with some fall colors starting. Weather did not play a part of the story.
I noticed the filming because of my daughter's early interest in film directing. We watched all the commentaries, making of the movies or TV shows, and read some, too. I had also been in one commercial for my old company and had been amazed at the screens they used to filter the sunshine.
I think some times I should have been a meteorologist. I had an interest in junior high, with the cute weather man on WYTV and my ninth grade science teacher. I get tingly now with weather reports, when monster weather is approaching our area (or not, in so many instances). I video taped all the Hurricane Gloria news when I lived through her in Connecticut.
I will blame all health and mental ailments on weather. My patients or friends complain of sore joints, I'll blame the fall in the barometer.  Noticing lack of sunshine in your soul, well, no sustained sunshine in the natural sphere. Tell me you have lack of freshness in your mind, "Have you been outside lately for a stroll?" I'll ask.
Weather inspires me. Country starts with an approaching storm, with low hanging clouds appearing as menacing faces. Sunrises and sunsets fill my inner being with joy. I love to awaken the dawn, as the psalmist says. I may lately, go right back to bed, but I miss seeing the daybreak on a regular basis with working afternoon turn.
Weather sets a mood, too. As I watched, Saving Mr. Banks with abundant sunshine, the mood created was happy in the Disneyland scenes. I could feel the heat of the Australia weather, too, with too much sunshine and the oppressiveness of disappointment in childhood. Both were filmed in southern California, but the way they filmed it, I could feel the difference in the sunshine.
Jesus also talked about the weather. He pointed out that they were all predictors of the future weather, yet the religious leaders couldn't see the spiritual forecast. And in Romans, Paul writes how all creation is groaning to be set free from the curse.
The reader of my stories will notice my attention to weather, and the sky. Weather is a character as much as a human. Storms rolling in foreshadow. The sunsets I enjoy writing about. Early morning sounds are some of my favorite descriptions. I do notice the weather, so don't tell me, we are not having a winter or a summer, when it is not even that season, yet. I will regale you with the history I remember, like forsythia blooming in December of 2001 or the violets I saw two years in a row in October and November. I'll tell you about the frigid weather when I was in tenth grade, 1977 and the next years, 1978 and 1979.  I thought today of the January thaw in 1974, when my girlfriend and I could sit by Hogback Creek in our sweaters because it was seventy five degrees and sunny. I had a long brown coat sweater. I'll be polite, though. I notice weather and I love it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Teddy Law Tuesdays

Teddy's Law met a glitch when it seemed to attack home schooling families and they withdrew the proposal. I still support the idea behind the law, to save children from torture, abuse and as in Teddy's case, death. And I will continue to support the people behind the law, as I can see their hearts' intent.
I had an uneasy feeling when the law was introduced. Parents rights are important, too.
My observation that the government can be too involved in our lives leading to too many laws and regulations that impinge on our freedoms. My intent on writing about child abuse hinged then on the individual. My warning to step out and look around, leading us to be observant of situations. Even with that warning, prayer and discernment must rule our actions.
I still hold we cannot change our culture with laws, but with  changing attitude and heart. As we make laws, that should slowly come about -yes, gridlock for that matter- we need to educate. Our founding fathers had that in mind, so laws would not come about quickly, but slowly and deliberately with thought. Passion is great to start the ball rolling, but cooler minds must see the future and consequences. The Teddy Law as first proposed may have made criminals of the wrong people.
Should people have reacted viciously as they did to a grieving father only trying to save others from the unbearable pain of losing a child when the system failed? No. We need to voice our opinion with civility and kindness. Proper channels should have been used. Name calling is never an intelligent response, nor can it bring about results.
I will continue on Tuesdays to speak up for the Teddy's that are still living. The children in abusive situations need an eye to see them. We need to be neighbors aware of wrongs in our towns. I pray for children to be rescued from situations that threaten their lives and well being.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back Seat

Big plans took a back seat to the gut today. So I try again tomorrow. The air is extremely cold, but it is a minor set back. I look at the long range and by Sunday it is in the forties, again. January and life is like that with roller coaster ups and downs. I carry on. To tomorrow.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Required Goal Setting

Yesterday was about inspiration to dream. This is the new year and what is the new year without plans, definite goals? So I dreamed yesterday with the idea of plotting my writing garden, but what am I going to do in 2014? I have been thinking about that as well.
One is hire an editor for Main Street. That is in the works for this coming week. Two is talk to different design artists about the cover. I have an idea that I don't think is that outrageous, my vision as it were and I need to do some research. So for the month of January, I plan on self publishing this novel.
Day to day, I will continue to post on my blog most days. That is something I try to keep consistently. I also need to carve out time to definitely write on my novel I started in November, Last Free Exit. I hope to publish this by the deadline set up by NaNoWriMo winners circle for the freebies, unlike last year when I missed the deadline. I will say here, an hour, since I am mostly now rereading and revising a bit, I won't say a word count.
Then I must return to Country, the novel searching for a plot. I have it now, I think. More rides and time in Fowler, Ohio and surrounding flat land of Trumbull County to whet my imagination. I will strive to publish it by the end of the year.
Reading, as always will take a chunk of my time. I must read to sharpen my mind and skills. The important thing to me is to keep writing. I have to write every day, even if it is just e-mail to my friends.
Another sunny day in Western Pennsylvania lends itself to my planning. I don't mind the frigid cold because sunlight is abundant. I thought how if my books are made into movies, they would use Vancouver, as it is the new film mecca. I tend to think in the 1960's at times with stories. Yet, I am really glad to be living when I am. The typewriter and I had many fights. Thoughts could not flow as I made many mistakes on the keyboard. I am blessed to have my laptop.
Well on to implementing plans. Hurrah!

Friday, January 3, 2014

An Abundant Day of Inspiration

The day dawned bright and cold, not that I saw the dawn. As the light grew strong and I woke from a too late night again with settling down and reading, I convinced myself I was glad we were driving my oldest to an appointment in Mercer, our county seat. Cold didn't penetrate the SUV, the roads clear, no blowing snow, as predicted, and I pleasured in the scenery, thinking I wished I skied. One part of sixty two with steep hills brings to mind mountains in miniature.
My husband and I visited a bakery across from the courthouse for the first time. I think the girl waiting on us, as breakfast was over and too early for lunch, didn't care at all. No mean bone, but total indifference to our wondering how the bakery service occurred. I got coffee, my first for the day, seventy five cents for a medium paper cup.  I thought how the second cup of coffee a day is better than the first. The cinnamon roll I ordered proved to be one of the best. The best was Mike's where I work that he shared with us all on Christmas Day. My lips still lick at the memory of  that one. His wife is a very lucky lady. My mother-in-law is second, now, as hers are warm when I eat them. Mike's also were warm with that crusty sugar butter layered throughout.
An Unremarkable Life (1989) Poster
West Middlesex Airport
I sipped my coffee, staring at the brown painted old wood floor. The small town feel of business filled the place, like New Wilmington or New England. I mused about a story I would love to write about "Stove Hounds," an old photograph posted  on South Shore Facebook page featuring men hanging around a stove in a general store. What kind of stories could I write about small town?
We passed an antique store with a movie poster in the window for  An Unremarkable Life. One of two movies filmed in the Shenango Valley in the late 1980's. In my short search, I can't find out what happened to Amin Q. Chaudhri or his company he endeavored to base in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Maybe Vancouver is better, for the old fashion feel of our Valley.
On our quest for lunch, I suggested two places that we found closed. At the second place, I had joy at being shown the inside of the remodeled barn on the Spring Valley golf course. The barn, built in 1872, housed the restaurant. We gazed out over the white blanket golf course, imagining the spring and summer when it would be opened. The owner talked of a nature trail they cultivated, handing me the place mat with the map.
I read it later and saw a Michner style novel from the outline of the trail. The ice age melt creating the bottomless bog begins the novel. The Native Americans burying grounds sets my mind in a second chapter with the next phase leading to the Donation plots and the settlers, like my seventh great grandfather, Edward Campbell, his wife Margaret and her brother, James Satterfield from Washington County, Pennsylvania. An old iron ore furnace shown on the map (the last one in the region) is the chapter on the beginnings of steel in our Valley with David Thompson seeing the promise, but dying too young and General James Pierce buying the farm from Mary, David's widow. General Pierce built on the industrialized dream in Sharpsville before Frank Buhl came to Sharon. His sixth great grandson became the president of the United States, George W. Bush. The president's grandfather grew up in Sharpsville before settling in Rye, New York, as owner of McCall's magazine. Did Barbara come here for summer vacations?
Like a gardener in winter plotting her land, I pour over all the possibilities of the stories. I'm looking at seed catalogs. I'm drawing diagrams. I see the flowers blooming. I have been writing this story since 2000 in my mind as it grows in imagination. I work toward the time again, I need to devote for the research that I commenced those many years ago when I poured over books in Mercer and Hermitage Historical Societies before I had to work full time. I plan many trips to this nature trail.
On my winter walk in the afternoon sun with no wind, I plan more. I think I could add the brief film making industry to this towering epic. I remember how Patrick Swayze, new on the heartthrob scene from North and South mini series, starred in another movie filmed in Sharon. He had been in a car accident, visiting the Farrell hospital emergency room just prior to when I started working there. The nurses still melting when I interviewed.
Tiger Warsaw opened in the Shenango Valley. We watched for all familiar places, hardly involved in the plot, listening to Y-103 in the background more than the dialogue. Mary McDonnell and Piper Laurie also acted in this. The painted window for the movie Sharon Police Department over a door on the Buhl Club remained for years. It fit the movie more than the actual police department in the modern building.
After my walk, I unwind with chai, reading Writing Past Dark, by Bonnie Friedman. I sleep a little on the couch under the pink golden sun. I wake encouraged to write of an abundant day of inspiration.

Tiger Warsaw (1988) Poster
A Sharon Tiger


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Abundant Snow

Today, abundance seems to come in the form of snow in the eastern region of our country. The fine snow falls quickly. No wind yet driving it into one's eyes. I believe I heard that is coming tomorrow.
I am amazed at the abundance of cars on the road. I also marvel at how fast they go and how close many are to accidents. I shut down with snow and long to just sit here on my couch, watching the silent falling.
I am thankful that I don't have to drive in it, like the many years before. I would feel trapped in an endless field of white, watching the lights ahead of me, if I were in the city or freeway. I'd listen to the radio, but tense at the prospect of being hit from behind. One time, the traffic moved so slowly, I didn't realize my flowered green Volks Wagen wandered into a funeral procession on East Market Street in Warren, Ohio. I wondered not only how long it would take me to get home, but also would I ever make it home.
Today, I have an abundance of thanksgiving that I do not have to battle our northeast snow. My husband is home for the holiday, driving us to our local jobs. I joked when I took this job, that I could even walk there if the snow were bad. Yet, I still wish I could sit here on my couch watching the tiny flakes steadily fill the landscape.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Picture for 2014


I could not wait to post my picture of the year. I will be explaining this more in depth the next few days. I was thinking on my walks with the finer weather last month about my picture of the year. The word came softly to me- Abundance.
Yes, I answered, Abundance. I'm tired of living with a pauper spirit. Bible verses confirmed the word as I read. A dream of me as a wet nurse with more than ample milk sealed my word for the year. Now, to find the proper picture. I wanted it to be one I took. I feel this one speaks of the abundance of spring spilling over to summer. Those days that never seem to end when supple green plants reach their promise. Wall to wall blue of deep hue providing abundant sunshine keeps us active.
I look forward to abundance this year. I do not want to cry, "I don't have enough- sleep, time, patience, money, ability or forgiveness." I renounce the pauper spirit. If my God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory, I think He will give me a side of beef (figuratively or maybe literally.)
After this word came into focus for 2014, I read these quotes:

Luke 12:15 Real life is not measured by how much we own.

From Beautiful Outlaw, "Sadly, for many people, the Christ they know is too religious to love, too distant to experience, and too rigid to be a source of life. It explains the abject poverty of the church."

John 10:10, I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.

From C.S. Lewis' Perelandra, "We have learned better than that, and know it more, for it is in waking that understands sleep and not sleep that understands waking," the Lord of Venus states.

In light of yesterday's post, I must say I need abundance in forgiveness most in these early hours. I anticipate a year different than many of the last years. I believe God is waiting to pour out His blessings on us all. Abundance of lush green and bumper crops, of growth and love waits on the threshold of 2014. Maybe as I wrote before, we have to let His love open the door.