More Than Coffee – by Lauren Scott

Resa at Graffiti Lux Art & More surprised me with this elegant and gracious review of my book, More than Coffee. I am so happy she enjoyed my book to a level that would spark such a beautiful reaction. Another reason for me to be grateful!
For those of you who don’t know Resa, she is a photographer who features stunning Street Art of other cities around the globe through travels and guest contributors. Taking these photos is a passion of hers that brings immense joy. Each work of graffiti art or mural evokes thoughts in her, and these thoughts are reflected in the titles of her blog posts. I encourage you to pay her a visit! Thanks again, Resa! xo

Graffiti Lux Art & More

As a person who enjoys poetry and coffee, the decision to read Lauren’s well written book was a no-brainer. As a matter of fact, I languished over every poem and bit of prose. For 33 mornings, I read one piece with my coffee.

Each day’s reading brought me warm thoughts, stirred feelings and created a desire to be creative. What a great and positive way to start the day.

In this intimate look at her and  her family, nature plays a huge part in stirring memories of irreplaceable experiences, both uplifting and occasionally heartbreaking. All emotions are expressed beautifully in positive light.

I couldn’t resist picking my favourite poem.

This poem is an experience I share with Lauren. She could have been writing about me and my mom. I am deeply moved.

There is no copy and paste from the ebook. I wrote this out, and proofed it many times…

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Words and Wishes!

“Mom, I love my new bed!”

Copper feels grateful for his new bed. He has three now spread throughout the house. So, as Thanksgiving Day inches closer, what are you grateful for? And don’t we all agree that showing gratitude isn’t just for this one day of the year; it’s for all year round. Let’s face it, watching the news gets depressing. The pandemic is still with us, people have lost their lives to this virus, fires raged in the summer, taking with them human lives and homes. Hurricanes landed causing devastation beyond our imagination. I feel like every day the news reporter tells us about another fatal shooting. Lives have been upended in the most horrific ways, and I’ve only scratched the surface. Still, if we dig deep enough, we can always find something to be grateful for.

Besides my family and Copper, I am grateful for the rain we’ve had, definite cause for a happy dance! We’re still heading into our 3rd drought year, but everything is green right now. Even the weeds are green for which I am grateful! We pray for more rainfall this winter so we can hear Mother Earth sigh once again.

I love the quiet early mornings when Copper and I go for our walks. We get to watch the sunrise and listen to the silence. The air is cool and crisp and wonderful!

I miss the long, light evenings from the summer, but hubby and I break out the candles for the long, dark nights. The coziness wraps us up in its warmth. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. It’s heartbreaking to see so many people living on the street or in their campers and vans. Having a roof over our head is not something to take lightly.

During this season, I love the smells of sweet and spicy, the baking of pumpkin bread, pumpkin pies, and pumpkin cookies. Hello, Pumpkin! And who doesn’t love the wardrobe changing of the leaves on the trees? Those rich, warm reds, golds, and yellows. I’m thankful for my bookcase that is bursting at the seams. So many books make me happy! I don’t know what I’d do if paperbacks and hardcovers became obsolete. I love the feel of the pages and the smooth covers.

Earlier this year, I did a post about Gratitude and the list I shared had a beginning, but it didn’t have an ending. Isn’t that something to be thankful for?! I’m writing this on the fly without any intense editing, so please forgive any errors. Lastly, thank you for your continued support and friendship in this world of blogging. And a Big Thank You to those of you who have bought my book, More than Coffee, and to those who have written fabulous reviews.

My family, Copper, and I wish you all a very warm and loving Thanksgiving!
~Lauren 🧡🍁🍂🧡

Castanets

I remember yesterday when I stepped outside,
strolling down the undisturbed road
with my dog on my left, his gait as graceful
as a galloping horse in slow motion.
Maybe the squirrels raised their
sleepy heads because of the early hour.
The sky appeared to be coal black,
but when I turned the corner, watermelon pinks,
corals, and lemon yellows took center stage.
My camera did not deliver.
Then I thought of my son
who often says, “Enjoy the moment.”
I slipped that device back in my pocket.
Passing the orange poppies, I imagined
their stems fluttered with excitement,
eager for the sun’s ascent, and in the distance,
silence sang its serene ballad.
As the tempo of our pace sped up,
a breeze joined us,
and the leaves on the trees lining the lane
swayed in rhythm as though dancing a waltz.
Jowls flapped, he smiled with brown nose
set in overdrive. The sun’s gentle touch
added a glimmer to his copper coat.
There was a moment when I paused,
bending down to his level,
fingers stroking shiny, silky fur,
his eyes closed, contented from contact.
When we moved again, his nails on the asphalt
mimicked the clicking of castanets,
and in that second, I realized these observations
on this early morning are what life is all about…
the seeing…touching…smelling…listening…
the being.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Treasuring Poetry – Meet poet, Lauren Scott, and a review

I am honored to be a guest on Robbie Cheadle’s blog, Writing to be Read, and to have received such a beautiful review of my book, More than Coffee…

Writing to be Read

Today, I am delighted to introduce poet and blogger, Lauren Scott. I met Lauren recently through another blogging friend and I am delighted by her beautiful poetry and posts about hiking adventures with her husband.

Take it away, Lauren.

Which of your own poems is your favorite?

I narrowed it down to two favorites: “Simple Existence” and “To My Babies.”

Simple Existence

I stare at this page, milk white as the

blanketed ground in winter’s staging.

Where are the syllables?

***

I fear they have flown to faraway places,

across desert dunes and boundless oceans

and might not return so that I may tell him

(again) how irreplaceable he is.

***

Instead, I’ll touch his lips with mine

and steady myself in the arms of a man

who is satisfied with my simple existence.

To My Babies

You are a new bloom in our family garden,

too little to…

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It Just Happened So Fast

It was close to 7:30 am when she walked into his room, sitting down in front of him. She looked into his eyes with a combination of love and resolution, as if to say, “Don’t you know, too?” He looked at his adorable black lab and shook his head, thinking, this is a little odd. But the obligation of school called, so he patted her soft head, saying, “Love you, Girl, see you later!” And he finished tying his shoes before walking out the door, heading for the high school.

The rest of us also left for the day’s routine: work and school. Just the ordinary; it was to be an ordinary kind of day. She was curled up and content on her soft bed in the backyard where she liked to keep an eye on any trespassing critters.

But shortly after we all left, she cried out. Our good neighbor next door heard her high-pitched cries, so he called us on our cell phones, then he stayed with her. One significant glitch was that all our cell phones were turned off, which had never happened before, and which proved to be the conundrum on this tearful day. So, over an hour passed before I even listened to the urgent message; during this time, our neighbor waited patiently with Lucky Girl breathing her last breaths. The guilt from this unintentional blunder stayed with us for a very long time; we felt sick inside imagining that she was lying there waiting for one of us to come home to tell her that everything was going to be okay.

He got down to her level, parking himself on the cool November concrete, her head resting on his leg. He was not a dog person, but he was a dog person on this day, petting her with compassion. It was ironic that she had had an aversion to him for some unknown reason. But that morning, any dislike she had for this man faded into the uncertainty of what was happening.

I pulled into the driveway, eyes wet and puffy from the phone message, and this was only the beginning. Walking through the side gate, I spotted our neighbor sitting on the walkway, his back up against the house, legs stretched out with Lucky Girl lying beside him. She was barely there, though – her eyes revealing acceptance and sadness. I think she knew more than we did at that moment.

He helped me lift her, gently laying her in the back of the car so she could lie on her side with plenty of room. As much as I wanted her in the front seat where I could see her, I knew she wouldn’t be comfortable. It wasn’t until I pulled out of the driveway that I realized the inevitable was drawing closer. She was eleven years old, but until today, she still seemed so full of life.

With tearful eyes, I drove, feeling grateful the freeway wasn’t a necessary route. Half-way to the vet, I knew. My heart felt the crossing. I pulled over to the side, got out of the car, and walked to the back, lifting the car door. I saw that my Lucky Girl had crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I sobbed again, knowing more tears would follow.

I kissed her on her nose then managed to get back into the driver’s seat, continuing for another ten minutes to the vet. When I arrived, frantically entering the building, I shared my devastating news with the girl at the counter who acted amazingly aloof for my untamed emotions. But two vet techs wearing light blue medical jackets carried Lucky Girl from the car into a private room. I asked for a few moments alone with my girl. There she was lying on the silver table, where I’m sure many furry family members have done the same. I bent over, laying my head on her soft black fur, gently petting her, and whispering on behalf of her family, “We love you, Lucky Girl.” More tears slid down my face as I was unable to comprehend that this was it…

No more walks together, no more cuddles on the bed, no more tossing of the ball, watching her chase that silly round toy with the excitement of a toddler. No more playing tug-o-war with her favorite rope toy, entertained by her incredible strength and admirable effort. No more watching TV with her lying at our feet as though she’s enjoying the show as much as we are.  

When we were all home later that day – the news weighing heavy on our hearts and minds – we huddled in a strong embrace, emotions running wild. This unforgettable chapter was part of life, part of owning a pet, allowing their unconditional love to wrap around our hearts. But this chapter was also about learning how to say good-bye.

The strange thing was Lucky Girl had never indicated that something was off kilter…except, perhaps, when she walked into his room that morning. She looked at him with knowledge we couldn’t possibly have been privy to. Even though her behavior was unusual, she was quiet, not crying or whining, so it didn’t propel us into worrying.

Hindsight is twenty-twenty. If we only would have known.
It just happened so fast.

Remembering Lucky Girl who received her angel wings on November 11, 2011. ❤️

The Smell of Sorrow

Sometimes, we hold plans
with such great importance
that when they become derailed,
our mindsets are not as tough
as we assume,
no, not as tough as spider silk –
they spiral into grottos of gloom
where we keep company
with a suitcase of insecurity.

Indulging in comfort that doesn’t
judge or bicker occurs effortlessly.
The smell of sorrow is overwhelming.

But despite the absence of light,
the sunrise slowly unfolds,
brushstrokes of vivid oranges
illuminate the sky
like a painter brightens a new canvas,
and the experience feels feather-light
as though a burden is lifted.

Our fascination is stirred once again
by a hummingbird’s ability to fly
forward and backwards, sideways,
and even upside down. We hear the
sparrows singing their tales,
and bees buzzing in jubilation.

Sensing the spiritual presence of hope,
we exhale with relief, and we are optimistic
for an extended stay.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Photo: sunrise from an early-morning walk

October’s Miracle

I forgot how the sound of rain could be soothing
like the calm of a child’s lullaby.
I heard my lantana sing “Hallelujah!” as the soil exhaled,
the thirst for relief felt longer than eternity.
Silk-thread drizzles dusted rooftops on the street
along with the brown brittle hills with flowing grace.
The fascination of puddles slipped my mind,
the childlike sense of play from a hop and a splash.
And who would think the sight of cocoa-brown mud
could be so entertaining in all its messiness!
Would you believe if I said the flowers smiled at me?
And their leaves offered a gentle wave?
Observing from my slightly opened window,
I caught a grateful sigh from the soaked earth,
and I enjoyed listening to the roots laugh in delight.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Waiting to Exhale

The calendar showed October 4th, 2012. She and I sat in the sterile office surrounded by semi-gloss light blue walls, our hearts thumping, hands like ice. We waited for the man who wore a white coat to join us, hoping he would provide gentle answers to appease our questions.

The matter was serious, but when I first saw his face, I thought of Santa, stark white hair and fluffy beard, red, rosy cheeks good for pinching. The only thing missing was the apple red hat, and though he would bear dreadful news, his smile was welcoming, as if the three of us were meeting for a stroll in the park on a lovely spring afternoon.

It was amazing how a tiny scope could be guided through the mouth and throat then down the esophagus. CT scans, lab work, MRIs, and a needle too long to discuss occupied her hours for over 1,000 days. Still, we craved clarity. Our world was hazy like thick fog a driver would endure crossing the Golden Gate Bridge during summer in the wee hours of the morning.
And we waited – a necessary evil that all people grapple with too often to count the times on their hands.

Then on that autumn day came words we would have liked to have hurled back to Santa. We had hoped for gentle. Instead…
“All tests point to this auto immune disease, and there is no cause or cure,” he told us with a touch of remorse. The future would necessitate a transplant. It was not cancer, but this finding should not be shunned. She was twenty years old, like a sunflower of friendliness and optimism. He added, “Just live your life.”

I felt her physical pain rip through each atrium and ventricle – my most excruciating moments of being a parent. But her strength embraced and consoled me, her mother, of all things.
Life pulled us through each season.

The calendar now presents the year 2021: She is a lovely, young woman – a wedding band adorns her left ring finger, and geography has changed along with a new insurance card. She meets with another man who wears a similar white coat. X-rays and jabs repeat. “All of your tests are normal,” he affirms. All is normal. Words we had hoped to hear from this new expert.
“I don’t see a reason to keep you in the same box,” he confirms.

This is amazing news! But abdominal stabs and pruritus from the past were as tangible as a twisted knife to the gut. How can we negate that agony? What is the deeper meaning? Should we get the champagne flutes out, give them a quick wash? Has this nightmare finally ended? She chooses to live in the here and now.
Life continues to draw us forward to witness each sunrise and sunset,
although we are still waiting to exhale.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

The Early-Morning Walks

Carol still grieved the loss of her husband, Bill. Twelve months had slipped away, but forty-six loving years of marriage wouldn’t allow her to let go of her beloved. Living without him was like living without air. Sadly, they couldn’t have children of their own and Bill wasn’t keen on adopting. So, they lived their life together spending time in the outdoors and traveling when they could. At seventy-three years old, Carol recognized that her friends circle had shrunk. She had several acquaintances to occasionally meet for lunch, but she no longer had that best friend to rely on for laughter or tears or to confess her deepest anxieties. The friends she thought would be in her life forever had drifted away like the wind carrying a lonely leaf over a meadow. But Charlie, her friendly pug, needed love and attention, so he filled that role in this chapter of her life. She talked to her furry friend all the time and he was an intent listener. She swore that he could understand every spoken word. He was quick to pick up on her emotions by giving her a lick on her cheek or a nudge from his tiny wet nose.

Because of Charlie, Carol couldn’t wallow in the stronghold of sadness. By eight o’clock each morning, she had locked the door behind her, and she and Charlie were walking around the neighborhood. She had remained in pretty good shape and maintained to keep it that way. Carol and Charlie usually spotted Jenna who lived around the block and who was the first to introduce herself over a decade ago. During that initial conversation, Carol learned that Jenna was married to Tom, and they had one son, Jack. They had moved into their home shortly before the two women had met.

It was a Friday morning when Carol and Charlie were about to reach Jenna’s house on their walk. She was standing by her car but walked over to meet them. “Hi Carol, it’s good to see you,” Jenna said as she bent down to pet Charlie on his soft little head.

“Hi Jenna, how are you? Why the long face?”

“Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news…Tom and I are getting a divorce. I haven’t seen you all week to tell you.”

“Oh, I’ve had a nasty cold that kept me inside. I’m so sorry, Jenna! I didn’t see this coming!

“I didn’t either, even though we’ve had some rocky moments. But after Tom and I talked, we thought it was for the best. I’m glad you’re feeling better, but I wish I had happier news to share.”

“Don’t worry about me. I feel bad this is happening, but it’s good you and Tom reached an agreement. I hope you’re staying in the house…”

“Actually, I’m moving out, but Tom didn’t ask me to. It’s my choice. I already found an apartment where Jack will live with me part of the time, and the move is Sunday.”

“This weekend? That’s so fast, Jenna. I’m at a loss for words, except that I’ll really miss you.”

“I’ll miss you, too, and our morning chats. You and Charlie need to take good care of each other.” Jenna wrapped Carol in a good-bye hug before the two women parted ways.

Carol felt the beginning of tears pushing through as she and Charlie continued their walk. She would miss her friend, but she was also saddened by the news of their impending divorce. So many young couples were separating, and these statistics made her heart ache. She missed Bill so much and wondered, why can’t couples find what we treasured for what felt like a lifetime? Ironically, Jenna had been friendlier than many of the new residents in the neighborhood – one of the reasons Carol felt a pang of sympathy and concern for this lovely young woman.

The neighborhood had changed since Bill and Carol moved into town decades ago. She recalled former neighbors with nostalgia. Mr. Angelino across the street no longer played his accordion – no music flowed from his backyard patio. Mrs. Miller didn’t toss saltwater taffy from her kitchen window for the youngsters; her kind gesture always brought high-pitched laughter that could be heard over the noise of cars rolling up and down the street. Then there was Mrs. Arnold who extended a generous invitation to the neighbors for a swim in her pool that amusingly resembled a kidney. Her joy in cooling off in the aquamarine water on those scorching summer days should be shared with others; that’s how she saw it. I enjoyed so many refreshing dips thanks to kindhearted Mrs. Arnold. These three lovely friends had passed away long ago, and these times are now distant, precious memories. Therefore, Jenna’s affable demeanor brightened Carol’s days. And now Jenna’s moving, she thought with a heavy heart.

Younger couples lived in these older homes now, but they seemed nonexistent. They were probably busy with their jobs, and occasionally, the cries of a baby escaped through billowing curtains. Maybe computer screens had become their new companions. Computers are terrific tools, but they can also be sneaky time thieves! When Carol does happen to see any of these young people, they don’t smile or wave much, not like her old neighbors did.

The following week when Carol and Charlie spotted Jenna’s house on their walk, it was apparent that Jenna had moved out. Her green SUV no longer hugged the curb in its normal spot. Two living room chairs, a worn sofa and ottoman, and a dresser sat on the dried-up brown grass. The roses and lantana in the front yard that once blossomed in soft pinks and rich reds had wilted, looking sad and forlorn. Tom’s black truck was still there, sitting in the driveway. But the tan stucco house looked exhausted, probably from emotions pulling its walls in several directions.

It was Thursday of that week when Carol paused for a moment…I want to believe this house could tell joyful tales from the past, but now I feel that if this house could talk, it might shed a tear or two from the second story windows, and those tears would fall into the neglected garden.

Carol missed Jenna, a bright light on those early-morning walks. Perhaps after experiencing the loss of my old friends, then losing Bill, Jenna’s move is one more loss added to the list. It’s a heavy burden Carol will have to bear but then let go of when the time is right. She was aware the stages of grieving differ for everyone.

Despite my own sadness, I hope this family can gather courage for acceptance of a new trajectory that lies in their future. I suppose I need to do the same thing. A year has come and gone and I’m no better off than the day I scattered Bill’s ashes on his favorite mountain.

Charlie nudged Carol out of her deep thoughts with his tiny wet nose as they began to turn another corner.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Who’s That Indie Author?

Who’s That Indie Author? Lauren Scott

During the book promotion for More than Coffee, another wonderful friend, Barbara at Book Club Mom, invited me to participate in an interview. I was thrilled to have this opportunity. Thanks again, Barbara, and if any of you aren’t familiar with her blog, please pay her a visit. She shares great books to read, insightful book reviews, interviews like mine so we can learn more about other Indie Authors, and she’s also on YouTube. There is always something to take away when visiting her site https://bvitelli2002.wordpress.com/.

Author Name: Lauren Scott

Genre: Poetry, Memoir

Books: New Day, New Dreams (2013), Finding a Balance (2015), and new release this year: More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose

Bio: I live in California with my husband of 32 years, and we have two adult children. Through my experiences over three decades: raising a family, grieving through loss, finding joy in the smallest things, and the many backpacking and camping adventures, my writing takes a magical path of its own. I also love to read, and my bookcase is bursting at the seams!

What got you started as a writer? When I was a teenager, I wrote poetry about the boys I had crushes on. This lighthearted inspiration was only the beginning because I continued to put thoughts to paper throughout my life, but I grew more passionate within the last decade. Now I write each day; it’s a natural part of my routine, either creating poems, drafting a short memoir, or dabbling in fiction.

What difficult experience has helped you as a writer? My love for writing turned into a passion when my daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease that would necessitate a future transplant. It isn’t fair for children to suffer, and as her mother, this news took processing that prompted me to write. My hurting poured out through words into poems and stories, some personal, some shared.

Have you ever participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? If so, how many times and what was your experience? I haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo, but it sounds like a wonderful organization. Maybe someday.

What advice would you give a new indie author hoping to publish a book? Do your research, initiate dialogue with authors who have self-published. Persevere, because if publishing your book means that much to you, you’ll do the work to achieve your goal.

What has been the biggest challenge for you during Covid? What tugged at my heart was not being able to see my daughter and son-in-law who live in Tennessee. Regarding writing, inspiration flowed at lightning speed. The last year and a half have been a challenge, but I am grateful for the abundance of creativity.

What are you reading right now? Dead of Winter, Journey 5, by Teagan Riordain Geneviene. This book is part of a series of short novellas and Journey 9 is her latest release. It has been an exciting adventure diving into this fantasy tale.

Would you rather laugh or cry over a book? Laugh!

Have you ever climbed a tree to read a book? I can’t say that I have. I enjoy sitting in the comfort of my living room or on the patio in the company of nature.

Have you ever dropped a book in the tub, in a pool or in the ocean? From my childhood, I have memories of a favorite paperback slipping out of my hands into our aquamarine kidney-shaped pool.

Could you live in a tiny house? No, but my husband and I live in a modest 1200 square foot home, a cozy dwelling, where we raised our two children. Even though we are new empty nesters, our 75-lb lab, Copper, still happily trots around the house.

What are the small things that make you happy? Baking. Flowers in bloom. Chocolate. Music. Carrot cake. A walk around the neighborhood. Backpacking. Freshwater lakes. Ping pong. Watching rom-coms or compelling thrillers. Reading. Family and writing are the Big things in life.

Website and social media links:
baydreamerwrites.com
Lauren Scott Amazon Author page

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I want to offer a Big Thank you to those who have already purchased my book, to those who are thinking about it, and to all who stop by for a visit. I appreciate all forms of support!
~Lauren 🍁🧡🍂