Chiara Talluto

Author, Busy Mom, A Woman after God's Heart

Baring It All; To Reflect In

Have you ever heard the expressions?

Just bare it all,

Let it go,

Let loose,

Surrender,

Let it be.

I’m sure there are countless other phrases/expressions, but you get the point.

One of beauties of fall in the Midwest are the changing colors of the trees; this until all the leaves fall off and you are left with bare trunks and naked branches.

I often wonder how trees feel being so exposed to the natural elements of wind, rain, and snow.

Do they shiver?

Do they shake?

Do they grip the cold soil digging deeper into the earth?

For after a long winter and things slowly begin to thaw, we know and the trees know that new buds of life will come in and soon those bare and naked trees will once more be clothed.

I try to imagine if a tree had thoughts, what would they ponder on during those exposed months of winter? This of course, got me thinking about the upcoming holiday season.

I’ll admit it, I don’t like or appreciate this season as I once did when I was a child. It’s a rush of craziness from Thanksgiving to Christmas. All the planning, preparation and shopping wears on me—my emotions and tiredness are exposed and I feel bare, I feel raw, and I feel old.

And then I look at the trees who will patiently endure what might be a turbulent season of cold and snow. The key word here is patiently.

Regardless of the temperatures swirling around them, they will stand firm and rooted in the importance of taking care of themselves so that when spring comes, they can yield strong foliage.

I guess this is a lesson for me to not get myself winded by every leaf of imperfection during this splendid celebratory season, but rather keep my mind and heart rooted in my faith—and the real reason for the season, for this is a time to bare it all in order to reflect in.

 

A Food Storyline – Stirring the Pot of Creative Writing

Author Note: I’m a firm believer that “writing” inspiration happens all the time. As writers, we should be open to those blessings and seize the creative bursts when they happen. Inspired by a recent event in which I had made Chili, here is “my creative burst” of energy.

It was a cold and dreary day in Foodville, USA. The whole farm town had come out to a “Chili” management meeting inside the Federal building at the intersection of Thirsty Street and Hungry Drive.

It was a big night for the town and the stakes were high. Standing room only, all the local organic vegetables were present. There were the Green Peppers, the Black and Kidney Beans cousins, Ms. Baby Carrot and her children, Mrs. Yellow Potatoes, the Onion twins, the Garlic triplets, along with the Ground Beef family. The temperature outside may have been 32 degrees, but inside the conference chamber, there they stood simmering in tomato sauce at a blazing 95 degrees.

Just outside the meeting room doors, were Mr. Javier Jalapeño and his girlfriend, Ms. Cathy Carrot Stick. The committee was going to vote on whether or not to let Javier Jalapeño be part of their Chili recipe.

“Move out of my way, baby. I’ve got to talk some sense into them. I’m diving in there.” Javier flexed his muscles.  

“It’s too dangerous, please don’t go.” Cathy pleaded with him.

The chili pepper continued to stretch from side to side. Small in stature, he had a reputation of bringing in a hotter taste to any dish. In recent years, he heard that the Chili was losing its flavor. Turmeric couldn’t cut it anymore, and tough and rough Ground Peppercorn had lost all his corns.

Javier was pleased to have friends like Cayenne Pepper and Sriracha Sauce present in the conference room fighting for him, but the others, Onion powder, and “Hot” Chili mix, well, they were resisting. There was a conspiracy against him. They didn’t want change the current Chili recipe, they didn’t want to add any new flavor, and they certainly didn’t appreciate what a little green chili pepper had to offer. But, Javier had to do something. He was putting it all out there, seeds and stem. He had no choice but to try to convince the farm, the spices, the meats, and the tomato sauce that he was there to enhance the Chili, not replace anyone. Together, they could be stronger, tastier, and more flavorful. And by golly, he was going to do it.

Back at the doors, Cathy Carrot Stick shivered in fear. She knew the drill. It had happened to her. For a long time, she was the best thing since diced tomatoes, but then the Baby Carrot family moved in and she was ousted out of the Chili recipe. As much as she loved Javier, she was old-school and liked how things had been with the “Original” Chili recipe, though; Ms. Carrot Stick wouldn’t ever tell him that.

Torn between love and the mainstream mentality of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Cathy chose her side. It was her heart throb of two years, sexy Mr. Jalapeño himself. With his emerald-green eyes and smooth complexion, their relationship was burning hot, and she vowed to never go back to bland relationships.

“It will be okay. I won’t be long, I promise.” Javier explained.

“Be careful, they’re crazy. They don’t want to change. They’ll eat you alive, if you go in there,” the orange tanned beauty begged.

Mr. Jalapeño pulled his love interest close and planted his lips hard on Cathy. When he stepped back, a veil of smoke arose from her cheeks.

“Babe, no need to worry. I’ve got this. New things are coming and I’m no longer afraid because I’m packing heat. Lots of heat.”

 

 

 

And with that, Javier Jalapeño sprung into the meeting.

#toomuchtimeonmyhands, #sillylittlestory, #Chiliinspired, #Jalapenomakeseverythinggreat, #amwriting, #exercisingmywritingskills, #Afoodstoryline, #writing

Everything I Needed to Learn About Authors; I Learned at Author Events

Is it me, or are authors only consumed with themselves?

Whoa…you say. That’s a loaded question coming from an author yourself.

Yes, it is.

You see, I’ve been to many libraries and bookstore sponsored author events where I’ve observed authors in action.

They are sitting behind a lovely display of books waiting for the readers to approach them, or, standing alone outside a circle of writers who are discussing plot points or point of views.

The ones behind the tables really deserve the “Trophy of Anti-Social” but still have the “buy my books attitudes” because I am snob and my stories are the best, even though I don’t care to ask you about your reading preferences, or even bother to make eye-contact.

Well, that’s a mouthful.

Here, let me elaborate and provide you a visual: Authors sitting on their pompous ass, sipping free coffee and eating store-bought muffins and bagelswhich should be for the customer, but they feel obligated to have anyway, while scrolling on their Smartphones, reading a book not related to their own, and here’s the best, sewing, as if they should be finishing up on chores that could have been done at HOME!

Good grief.

To top it off, they rarely socialize with other authors who are at the tables right next to them. Folks, author events are there not only to sell your books, but meet other authors and network.

Here is something to ponder on. Do you think your books are better than anyone else’s? Are you so close-minded that exploring other writers and the types of writing they do is beneath you?

To me and this is only my opinion, I say…Shame on You. How do you know that the writer across from you can recommend an illustrator for your next book that you’ve been struggling to find for the last three months? Maybe the guy with the green hair and the rocket display becomes your greatest fan and at a later time has an opportunity and he invites you to his daughter’s sixteenth birthday party because now you have acquired a huge following for your YA book.

Seriously?

Yes, and there’s more. Let’s not forget the “hard sell” piece.  A few months ago, I was at an author library event. Walking up to a table in which the man had a display of what looked like crime/cop type of novels, I stopped and perused one of his books, even complimenting him on the cover. When I asked him how he was doing, he boldly replied… “Better, if you bought one of my books.”

What could I say to that?

Here’s a spoiler alert. There is no guarantee that every single person who walks into a bookstore event or library event will buy a book, even yours. Book tastes are very subjective. Just like when you buy shoes. What I choose and what you choose will be different based on comfort and style. Your job is to court the perspective reader. Ask him/her what they like to read, not use the strong-arm tactic.

The same goes for author to author relationship. Learn about each other’s work, you might come away with valuable information for your own writing. The other thing is, if you don’t want to buy their book, support them in different ways: Tweet their book info, do a blog interview, or recommend their book to someone who might read that particular genre. Sometimes, authors do a book swap. That’s cool too. But, don’t expect each and every author or potential customer to buy your particular book.

That’s harsh.

Duly noted, but this is not a flea market. Honestly, I’d rather have someone buy my book who I know will read it, enjoy it, and maybe if they are so inclined, leave a review.

Bottom line. Author events should not be your two-hour relaxation time away from home or family. Get up and talk to people. Make it a point to connect with five new authors at each event.

This holds true for those writers who are afraid to socialize and are hiding behind their display, or leaning against the bookcase, trying to look inconspicuous. It’s hard, the social aspect of these type of events. I honestly get it.  You see, my mind is always conjuring up make-believe characters. I’d rather spend an afternoon behind a computer writing about them, then chatting with real people.

Remember this; cross-networking can lead to many opportunities:

  1. Getting out of your shell and not focusing on “me-me”.
  2. Insight and learning.

Most authors have full-time jobs, you never know if that person is an attorney, plumber, band singer, or real estate agent that you could use in the future. It’s called using your resources.

Snicker.

Yes, your books are your babies, but opportunities can abound when you get your head out of fiction and into the real world.

Smile.

Now, get out there.

#authorrant #writing #authorobservations #locallibraryevents #bookstoreauthorevents #bookselling #connectingwithauthors

The World View from a Child

“The world is not how you see it; it’s how God sees it.”

My seven-year-old drew this picture for me today. When I asked her what this meant she had this to say…(some paraphrasing included):

“This is how God created the world: with beautiful flowers and the cross to remind us of His son, Jesus. Our world is in trouble, Mommy. There are people fighting each other and people saying mean things to one another. Nobody likes America anymore. I don’t think God likes that, so he gave us hurricanes, so we can learn to be nice to each other again.”

My reaction. “Oh, okay. Great observation…Nice job! It looks real pretty. Is this a specific place?”

“No. It’s just a cemetery.”

“Ah, why a cemetery?”

“Because it is beautiful too, even if there are dead people. But, especially if it is filled with flowers.”

And then, I asked where all the “living” people were in the picture?

“I don’t know. Gone, I guess. I have no people.”

“Hmm…Wouldn’t it be okay to have people in the picture?”

“No. People ruin the earth.”

So, my child drew a beautiful picture, one that she believes God envisioned, but with so much division and fighting in our world lately, there probably won’t be any more “decent” people left.

I’m reminded of a quote from one of my favorite Rocky movies. This one was from Rocky IV (1985):

It’s toward the end. Rocky just beat Drago, the Russian boxer. Throughout the fight the crowd is booing Rocky, but when he beats Drago, they get on his side and begin chanting his name. This is what Rocky has to say about that…

“During this fight, I’ve seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you. In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that’s better than twenty million. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!”

So, on this Friday and on every day going forward, let’s do something for someone else. A change of heart, a  change of mind, and a change of attitude starts within each of us.

#FridayFeeling, #RockyIV, #TakenfromASevenYearold, #Outofmouthsofbabes, #writing, #ponderinglife, #Changebeginswithyou

 

Recipe for Life

“In the end, it’s what you put into your life; not taken from the life you were given.”

For those of you who know me, know I have a passion for making cocktails. No, I’m not an alcoholic, nor am I promoting alcohol here.  I do however; enjoy a drink every now and then. And, I like to experiment with different liquors in creating new drinks.

Now, I don’t make any kind of foo-foo drinks, either. What are foo-foo drinks you ask?

Here’s a simple definition:

“An alcoholic beverage that is way too pretty or feminine. These drinks are usually characterized by lots of whipped cream, multiple fruit decorations and/or umbrellas. Also, they tend to be low in alcohol content.”

Ah…not for me. I actually don’t like diluting the alcohol content of whiskeys, bourbons, and vodkas. So in essence, the simpler a drink is made, the better.

You see, I can cook, but I don’t like baking. In fact, I dislike baking as much as drinking light beer. So, besides, writing, I enjoy my alcohol too.

Now, where was I? Ah yes, just like baking, “drink-making” is an art. Steps need to be followed when working with the ingredients. Those who are professional “drink-makers,” are called Mixologists.

Let’s define a mixologist:

“A person skilled at making mixed drinks.”

I’m far from professional. You can say I’m a “learned mixologist”. In fact, I had an enjoyable two-year stint working in a wine bar where specialty cocktails and martinis were also served.

Here’s what I’ve learned about making cocktails:

  1. Don’t drown out the alcohol with other mixed liquids, you’ll lose the taste.
  2. Don’t over pour the alcohol, so that it’s too strong to enjoy even a second drink.
  3. Measure your liquids so not to waste anything.

It seems so easy to follow a recipe, and BOOM…something is created. All this discussion on drinks has gotten me thirsty, not to mention ponder about life and how to make the most of it.

Maybe we need a recipe for living?

Now, you might be thinking. Why the heck would we need a recipe for life? Just live it, and make the most it. Isn’t it enough that there are too many rules and laws on doing things?

Yes, there are limitations, but sometimes within those confines, opportunities pop up. So, hear me out. We live in a world of excess. There is an overabundance of:

  • Eating
  • Working
  • Playing
  • Self-Indulgence

Not to mention, constant stimulation and attachment to gadgets.

It’s too much of everything. With that I’ve noticed, comes the immunity to the mundane as well as excitement. There is no burning belly or shock anymore. We have become desensitized to the simple pleasures such as family time, quiet time, and faith time.

So, to make a perfect cocktail, you’ll need specific ingredients; the right glassware, utensils, and mixing liquids. The same holds true for living a balanced life.

Here’s my concocted cocktail:

  • Two ounces of physical touch
  • One ounce of gentle words
  • .5 ounces of “me” time
  • .5 ounces of a caring heart
  • A dash of honesty
  • A sprinkle of stress
  • Add a slice of rest for garnish

Pour all the ingredients into a 12-ounce glass filled with ice cubes of spontaneity and stir. DO NOT SHAKE.

For those of you wanting to know how I made the Dirty Martini in the picture, here is the recipe I followed, click here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/32238/dirty-martini/.

NOTE: I used Tito’s Vodka instead and only two olives.

You can also check my three blogs on Limoncello-making.

http://www.chiaratalluto.com/part-1-a-writers-adventure-to-making-homemade-limoncello/

http://www.chiaratalluto.com/part-2-the-mid-process-peek-a-writers-adventure-to-making-homemade-limoncello/

http://www.chiaratalluto.com/part-3-reaping-what-you-sow-a-writers-adventure-to-making-homemade-limoncello/

Until next time…Please drink responsibly.

REFERENCES:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=foo-foo%20drink

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/mixologist

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/32238/dirty-martini/

#procrastingediting, #funwriting, #practicingmydrinkmakingskills, #amwriting, #writing, #mondaymotivation, #mondayminutia

When Your Passion is Their Passion

“My mom is an author.”  “My mom writes stories when we are sleeping.”

Ever wonder what your kids really think of you in terms of what you do? Your actions definitely speak louder than words.

From the moment your child enters this world, you are constantly scrutinized, judged, watched, and studied.

Knowing that notion can make one self-conscious, threatened, embarrassed, or feel holier than God himself.

Think about it. Their influences, ideas, and likes and dislikes, stem from you, their parent. It’s been said many times over; there is no greater job responsibility than child-rearing.

And, your actions have consequences and those consequences can set a path for your child to potentially follow if they can’t discern right from wrong.

So, if you want your child to see you in a particular light, model a righteous role. Set the example. Your joy will overflow when you see your children succeed in all that you’ve sowed for them.

I heard this recently and believe this quote sums it up:

“The wealth of a mom and dad lies in the quality of their children.”

~Author Unknown~

Until next time…

Be well. Be safe. Be happy.

 

Living Little with Growing Kids

 

You know this cliché… “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Folks, listen up. It’s very true.  Where does the time go?

It seems like not too long ago, my daughters were infants, then they became toddlers, and now they are little people with attitudes and opinions of their own. I have one going into second grade, and the other going into third grade. Time has flown by.

Our summer days have been crazy fun. I’ve got to keep them involved and entertained, you know? The whole… “I’m bored” syndrome drives me up the wall. We are doing summer reading through our local library, in camp, in choir, going swimming, and exploring parks. And, this is only a partial list, I’m not including the countless other activities.

It’s go, go, go, go, go…

MY MOTTO: Let’s take advantage of the beautiful day. Don’t waste the day! Too much to do; so little time.

But, with all the running around, I’m getting tired and my girls are getting very cranky.

People tell me how great it is now, since the kids aren’t in diapers, or on a feeding schedule.

“At least you’re not stuck inside on a nice day,” they say with a smile.

I nod in agreement, but inside I just want to lie down and take a nap, and have them nap too.

I miss those “scheduled days”.  The quietness and stillness of the house when everything stops.

Now, I get laughed at if I try and force them to nap.

“Mom, we don’t nap anymore. That’s for babies!” they say with hands on their hips, while yawning and squabbling with each other.

My girls want to stay up late, and fight me, so I let them. Until, they are so irritable and can’t fall asleep because they are sooooo over-tired and wake me up. So, now I can’t sleep. It’s a vicious cycle.

I know that as they grow older, my life with the kids will be busier. Gosh, and for one single moment I close my eyes and reminisce when they were just babies with rigid feeding and sleeping schedules.

It was hard then. More care and handling. These days, they talk back and are paying close attention to me and my handling of life.

It makes me a little nervous to have that kind of scrutiny; I’m not just their comforter, I am their teacher, and that takes a lot more energy.  Tons of energy. The questions never stop.

So, maybe I need to take the slowdown of the “living little” and incorporate that into the “big busy days” and see what happens?

Surely, like every other mom out there I want my children to have a fruitful summer before school starts, rather than a rushed summer of events.

But—?

Stop.

Okay.

Pssst…

What?

NOTE TO SELF: “Time to take your own advice,” I say with a smile.

#streamofconscience, #talktoself, #raisinggirls, #summerfunwithkids, #livinglittleinbigsummerexperiences

 

The Very Next Thing…

Have you ever wanted to alter, reverse, or change an uncomfortable situation that you happen to be in?

Come on, can I hear a…Ah yeah!!!

Good. Me too. Plenty of times. It’s like a video reel of regret that plays continuously over and over in your head.

This last time was over the top. And, I’ll be honest, I’ve been having nightmares of would of, could of, and should of… only to awake in a drenched sweat and a thankful heart.

What appeared to be an innocent maneuver of fun had turned into a life threatening event. Vacationing in the warm water beaches of Florida, I had an opportunity to try Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) surfing. For those who don’t know what SUP is, here is a brief description:

“The fastest growing water sport in the world, stand up paddle boarding came from humble beginnings back in 2004 when it first touched down on U.S. shores. It’s now overtaking nearly every body of water in the world. You can do it in oceans, lakes, rivers, and bays – even a swimming pool if you so desire. It’s a great full body core workout, and it’s a whole new way to experience the water in the outdoors.”

I’ve never paddle surfed before. How hard could it be?

It was a free fifteen-minute trial. You see, three young twenty-something year-olds had just come back from paddle surfing, raving about their experience. The rental supervisor was waiting for them on the beach so that they could return the boards, when my husband struck up a conversation with the man. He graciously offered us a trial while he put the other boards back onto his truck.

My husband knowing I liked all things water-related, offered for me to try the paddle board. The man encouraged me as well.

“Yes, yes. You will like it. It’s easy,” he said.

No need for any arm twisting, I was eager to try it. The supervisor then demonstrated how to hold the paddle: one hand on top of the lever, and the other hand on the shaft. I wasn’t comfortable standing, so he suggested I kneel.

That day, the water was higher than the previous days we had on the beach. The breeze was pushing out toward the sea, and the waves were soft and airy as they splashed upon the sand.

I Velcro-strapped the paddle board leash to my ankle and hopped on the board. At that moment, there weren’t many people in the water, and I paddled smoothly away from land.

My husband snapped a few pictures as I glided out. My intention was to go out a bit, and then turn around. I’m a decent swimmer, but when the water is deep, I don’t like it much.

I looked back and saw I was still close to shore. My daughters were waving at me. Yes, I felt like a cool mom—Wonder Woman.

As the waves carried me out, I became overtaken by the beauty of the deep green color of the water. Soon, I was moving a little faster, and realized the “No Swimming” pole was coming up quick. I turned back and saw I had gone farther than I had anticipated. So, I began paddling to turn the board around.

It became obvious to me after a few seconds that I might be paddling the wrong way—I couldn’t remember what the man had told me. Soon, the pole was inches from me, I quickly jabbed the pole with my paddle to push-off of it and swing around, instead the board bumped right past it.

I glanced over my shoulder and saw my husband, getting tinier and tinier and so I waved in panic for him. Oh Jesus, could he see me?

“Help,” I screamed.

But, I was too far away for anyone to really hear me.

I began to panic and so I paddled and paddled, but it was useless, I was being pulled out farther and farther into the deeper waters. Crap. I don’t like deep water! The paddle felt suddenly heavy. My heart was beating rapidly.

Got to breathe…Got to breathe…My kids! I got to get back to my girls. I have to try again.

And so, I plunged the paddle into the water and started paddling again. I have to do it right this time. Come on, damn it, come on…

It was eerily quiet out on the water. I couldn’t see my kids on the sand. Where did they go? Are they still safe? Shit!

I was all alone. Having two, beautiful, active daughters, I’m never by myself, and I’ve often craved “my alone” time. Well, I was getting it now, and suddenly I didn’t want to be alone anymore. I wanted my husband and daughters…I wanted my crazy, chaotic life back.

I needed help. And I needed help fast. I was insanely scared, and I started praying to God to save me somehow. Oh Lord, what have done? I’m so sorry. Sorry for how I’ve been toward my girls and my husband. Please, please, help me.

My help came via my husband— running into the water and swimming toward me. But gosh, he was so far away. How long would it take for him to reach me? Would he reach me at all?

Seeing him, gave me encouragement, and so I fought with the paddle, and I was able to rotate the board and head toward my husband and land.

We moved slowly toward each other in a breathless attempt to get closer and closer. And, when he reached me, exhausted, I jumped into the water, momentarily sinking but then frantically coming up for air and grabbing onto the board. Together, we gradually swam with the board toward shore.

The scary/sad part of this whole experience was that with at least twenty or so people in our surrounding area where we had our towels and umbrella, not one other person came into the water and helped.

I repeat…NOT ONE. NOT ONE DAMN PERSON. Even the rental supervisor wasn’t near the water. He was off loading the boards.

Maybe we didn’t look like we needed help, but I personally would have thought it odd to see someone floating on a paddle board going farther out, while another person swimming hastily toward them. Doesn’t that seem out of sorts to you?

Both of my daughters were thankfully safe. They stayed put under the umbrella, but they had been screaming hysterically. They had gotten frightened and thought my husband and I would never come back. Who could blame them? Seeing their father swim out to sea toward their mother who was drifting in deep water.

We tried remaining calm as best as we can as we swam back. When we got back on land; beat beyond belief, I tried smiling as best as I could and reassured the girls that all was okay.

“No big deal. Momma just paddled way too far. Papa is our hero and brought Momma back. See, we are all fine.”

But, inside my gut, I was shaking uncontrollably—wondering what could have become of me if my husband hadn’t come out?

We spent the rest of the day and evening talking to our children about the situation, keeping it light, but stressing the importance of “water” safety and for them to consider retaking swimming lessons again.

Lesson Learned—straight out of the mouths of babes: “Momma, don’t’ try something if aren’t sure how to do it, even if it was free.”

And, they were right. I let them down. I had panicked and that was what had gotten me in trouble. Had I laid on my stomach and paddled with my arms in the water instead of the stupid paddle, maybe it might have been easier to turn around and come to shore. Maybe I should have hopped off as soon as I knew I had gone too far, and just swam back? Maybe if…Maybe if…Maybe if…Too many “maybe ifs” to account for.

I was lucky my husband had come; I hadn’t even considered the threat of sharks (that’s another story altogether).

I praise God, for this second chance of life. I really, really do. This chance to make it right to the Lord, somehow in the …Very Next Thing…

What is it that He wants from me in my very next thing?

Now it’s your turn: What is God asking you to do in your very next thing?

NOTE: This blog was inspired by Casting Crowns:The Very Next Thing”.  Click here for video.

#verynextthing, #castingcrowns, #standuppaddleboardsurfing, #paddleboardsurfing, #amwriting, #writing, #secondchanceatlife, #thankfulheart, #gratefulheart.

References:

SUP – Stand Up Paddle Boards

https://www.islesurfandsup.com/sup-101/sup-beginners-guide/ (scroll down)

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/paddleboarding.html

http://distressedmullet.com/2015/04/26/13-tips-for-stand-up-paddle-surfing-for-the-first-time/

http://www.towerpaddleboards.com/v/how-to-paddlesurf-videos.htm

https://greenwatersports.com/2494/10-tips-stand-paddle-boarding-beginners

To Audio, or Not to Audio: That is the Question – Courtesy of Hometown Reads

I recently had the opportunity to be a guest blogger for Hometown Reads. “… a community dedicated to serving local authors across the country, by helping them connect with readers in their hometown through what we call the Read Local movement. Their site is the first of its kind to organize authors by local community, a design that is intended to facilitate both networking for authors and exposure/connection to more readers…”

“A version of this post originally ran on the Hometown Authors site on June 13th, 2017.”

Please check out the blog courtesy of Hometown Reads on whether creating audiobooks is for you at: http://hometownauthors.com/everything-else/to-audio-or-not-to-audio-that-is-the-question/.

For more info, go to Hometown Reads.

For authors, go to: Hometown Authors.

 

The Empty Nest – Hope in Front of Me

“The Chronicles of Esther and Mel – The Last Chapter.”

To catch up on the previous chronicles go to:

Part I: The Nature of Life

Part II: Don’t Mess with Momma

For the past month, Esther, my “mother-to-be” duck has been my writing muse – becoming a friend and confidant, bizarre as it may seem.

From the moment I found out that she had moved in on our property, I made it a point to check on her and talk with her. I prayed for her safety daily from squirrels, raccoons, and coyotes. I lent Esther my ear when she wanted to vent and I was there to comfort a nervous, first-time mother.

I knew our time was short. And, when all three of her ducklings hatched on Mother’s Day, minus the one egg that rolled down the grassy hill and died, I never expected what happened next…

The very next morning, Esther was gone. The only things left in her nest were empty, cracked egg shells and feathers. I was stunned. Certainly, I thought she might have stayed a few more days, or even given me a heads up that she would leave. But, Esther didn’t.

It was all a surprise and I was saddened. I had gotten used to her for the last thirty days, seeing her sitting on her nest of eggs. Even my daughters were happy she was there at our home.

The day Esther left, I stood over her empty nest, puzzled at the quick disappearance. I was reminded of a scripture passage in Luke 24:1-12 the day after Jesus was crucified on the cross. Early the next morning, Mary, the mother of James, Mary Magdalene, and other women went to the tomb to bring spices and oils so they could anoint Jesus’ body. However, when they got there, the tomb was empty and Jesus’ body was gone.

The scripture goes on to tell us that the women were “greatly perplexed“. I can only imaging their shock, disappointment, and fear of what might have happened to Jesus’ body.

Now, it may seem silly that I am comparing Jesus’ empty tomb scripture to Esther’s departure, but as I stood there, my sadness began to lift. Instead, I became filled with hope. Hope that this courageous duck mom would know where to take her babies, and give those little ducklings life skills to thrive in a very dangerous world.

In light of the recent terrorist attack in Manchester, England, the fatal assault on the Coptic Christians in Egypt, and remembering our Veterans this Memorial Day Weekend, my heart bleeds in constant worry of what kind of tomorrow we have to look forward to with so much violence.

And then, I read one of the most important lines of the scripture, verse 8: “And they remembered His words.” The Lord’s promise for us.

I certainly don’t have control over the worldly things that happen each and every day, but I have control over how I spend my day. Doing good, serving others, and keeping my eyes fixed on the things above. Praying regularly for continued salvation for myself and the rest of the world, so that we can have…

A better place…A peaceful place…For our children.

Today’s blog has been inspired by the song: “Hope in Front of Me“ by Christian Artist, Danny Gokey. See the YouTube video here.

Where ever you are my dear Esther, I hope you and your little ducklings are safe too.

Until next time…

#MissyouEsther #DannyGokey #HopeinFrontofMe #TheEmptyNest #amwriting #PrayforOurNation #PrayforOurWorld #MemorialDay #Aducklife

Resources:

Holy Bible” New King James Version (NKJV). Scripture: Luke24:1-12.

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